Kershaw seems to like pitching in Dodger Stadium. In his five starts he has a 3.46 earned run average and over 26 innings has allowed 24 hits and struck out 25.
It was Kershaw's second outing since being recalled from Jacksonville on July 22, and his longest with the Dodgers.
Chan Ho Park and Hong-Chih Kuo worked an inning each and allowed one hit before Jonathan Broxton blew the Nationals away in the ninth for his fourth save since replacing the third piece in the Dodgers' Far East section of the bullpen, Takashi Saito.
While the Dodgers climbed back to the .500 mark for the first time since May 30 when they were 27-27, the Nationals, whose 38-68 record is the worst in baseball, have dropped 15 of their last 19 overall and nine straight at Dodger Stadium since May 4, 2005. They have been shut out 19 times, including twice in the just completed series.
A pair of unusual double plays helped Kershaw record the win.
The Nationals starting pitcher Jason Bergmann, who hasn't bunted successfully all season long, popped into a Kershaw-Garciaparra-Loney double play in the third inning.
Then in the fifth, Lastings Milledge attempted to move from first to third on a hit-and-run ground ball by Paul Lo Duca. Casey Blake scooped up the ball at third and threw Lo Duca out at first. Milledge was nailed on a perfect throw from Loney to Garciaparra covering third but it may be a costly DP for the Dodgers.
It appeared that Milledge hit Nomar's foot or leg when he slid into third and Nomar seemed to walk gingerly back to his position at shortstop. A double down the line that would have scored a run didn't matter as Kershaw closed out the inning without any damage.
After the inning ended, Garciaparra immediately went into the Dodgers clubhouse and was replaced at second base by Pablo Ozuna. Club official said he suffered a twisted knee and would be re-evaluated today (Monday).
Garciaparra's loss would be catastrophic.
Over the 17 games since he returned from he disabled list on July 4, Nomar has hit .317 with five doubles, four home runs and 14 runs batted in. Before leaving the game hitless in one time at bat, he had hit .364 in eight of his last nine games with nine RBI. The 35-year-old has missed 75 games due to calf and hand injuries.
Matt Kemp singled twice, running his hitting streak to 14 games. He is tied with Jose Lopez of Seattle for the longest current streak in the Major Leagues. Kemp is hitting .351 with five homers and 10 RBI over the 14 games, boosting his average from .278 to .290. He has hit safely in 21 of his last 22 games.
Jeff Kent, who will catch Mickey Mantle for 47th on the all-time list with seven more RBIs, left runners at at third base in both the first and third innings.
While Kershaw was delighted with his first victory, it wasn't such a happy day for Andruw Jones. Manager Joe Torre said Jones would be the team's fourth outfielder until further notice. Torre opted for a starting outfield of Juan Pierre in left, Matt Kemp in center and Andre Ethier in right.
Jones, who signed a two-year, $36-million contract in the winter, is hitting .166 with two home runs and 12 runs batted in. He has four hits and 31 strikeouts in 54 at-bats (.074) with runners in scoring position.
Before the game, the Dodgers optioned third baseman Andy LaRoche to Las Vegas and replaced him on the active roster with pinch-hitting specialist Mark Sweeney. Just off the disabled list, Sweeney pinch-hit in the seventh inning and struck out, lowering his average to .092.
While the Dodgers were sweeping the Nats, Arizona was sweeping the Giants so L.A. remains one back of the Snakes. Colorado swept the Reds and are stay six back but keep an eye on that bunch.
Pitching matchups for the Giants Series:
Tonight Hiroki Kuroda (5-7, 3.98) vs. Kevin Correia, (1-5, 5.71)
?Tuesday: Jason Johnson (0-0, 2.57) vs. Giants Matt Cain (6-8, 3.82)
?Wednesday: Chad Billingsley (10-9, 3.26) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (8-6, 4.46)
Score by innings Washington 000 000 000-0 Los Angeles 100 010 00x-2 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Pierre lf 4 1 2 0 .280 Jones cf 0 0 0 0 .166 Kemp cf-rf 3 0 2 0 .293 Martin c 3 0 2 1 .298 Kent 2b 4 0 0 0 .252 Kuo p 0 0 0 0 .333 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Loney 1b 4 1 1 1 .302 Garciaparra ss 1 0 0 0 .279 Berroa ss 2 0 0 0 .205 Blake 3b 3 0 0 0 .290 Ethier rf-lf 3 0 0 0 .274 Kershaw p 2 0 0 0 .000 Park p 0 0 0 0 .000 Sweeney ph 1 0 0 0 .092 Ozuna 2b 0 0 0 0 .284 Totals 30 2 7 2 Washington 30 0 5 0 Errors- Garciaparra (3) Kershaw (1). HR- Loney (9). RBI- Loney (58), Martin (49). SB- Kemp (23). LOB- Los Angeles 8, Washington 4. DP- Kershaw and Garciaparra. Blake, Kent, Loney and Garciaparra; Berroa, Ozuna and Loney. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Kershaw (1-3) 6.0 4 0-0 1 5 4.53 Park 1.0 0 0-0 0 2 2.48 Kuo 1.0 1 0-0 0 1 1.86 Broxton (sv 4) 1.0 0 0-0 0 1 3.27 T- 2:25. Att- 38,660.O'Malley Enshrined in HOF
Walter O'Malley was inducted posthumously in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. His son, Peter, accepted the honor in behalf of his father and his family. Walter O, as he was called, presided over the Dodgers as club president from 1951-1969 and was Chairman of the Board from 1970-1979, winning four World Championships and 11 National League pennants.
Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers have won four straight games at home for the first time since they won five straight April 25-May 6. They also enjoy the best home ERA in the National League. ...The three games with Washington were finished in remarkable time: 2:16, 2:27 and 2:25 for a brisk and efficient 2:19 average. ...The Dodgers starters are 21-14 since June 17 after losing 17 of 23 prior to that.