The Nationals head into the late innings of NLDS Game 1 down 4-3, but accomplished one of their goals: getting Clayton Kershaw out of the game early.
After Kershaw started the game out hot, striking out the side in the first inning, Nats hitters went to work on the All-Star lefty. They scored three runs off him on eight hits over five innings, working his pitch count to 101 — the most he's thrown since his return from a back injury in September.
For most other pitchers, that's a modest-but-not-terrible pitching line. But this is Kershaw, who doesn't give up much of anything. Friday night was the first time he allowed three or more runs since June 26, before his injury. And with the Nats down 4-0 by the third inning, found a way to to claw back against the best pitcher in the game. However, they were just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position against him, with the lone hit an Anthony Rendon two-out, two-run single in the third inning.
All things considered, knocking Kershaw out of the game before the sixth inning is a victory. But the offense has to keep the pressure on the Dodgers bullpen.
SAN DIEGO -- Yangervis Solarte hit a two-run home run off Stephen Strasburg in the first inning of the right-hander's first start in almost a month and the San Diego Padres beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 Saturday night.
Strasburg (10-4) retired the first two batters he faced before allowing a single to Jose Pirela and then the homer to the switch-hitting Solarte, who drove a 96-mph fastball to right for his 13th.
Strasburg then settled down against his hometown team, retiring 10 straight batters and 13 of 14. He went six innings, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out eight and walking one.
He hadn't pitched since July 23, when he went only two innings at Arizona. He went on the disabled list with an elbow nerve impingement.
Strasburg pitched at West Hills High in suburban Santee and then at San Diego State for coach Tony Gwynn before going to the Nationals with the No. 1 pick overall in the 2009 draft.
While Strasburg pitched well, the Nationals had only three hits.
San Diego's Travis Wood (2-1) also settled down after laboring through the first inning, when he threw 35 pitches but didn't allow a run. He was unscathed until the fifth, when he allowed a one-out single to Jose Lobaton and a two-out double to Adrian Sanchez. The run was unearned because of Woods' throwing error on Strasburg's sacrifice bunt that advanced Lobaton.
Wood allowed just the unearned run on three hits in seven innings, with two strikeouts and two walks.
Brad Hand pitched the ninth for his 11th save.
SAN DIEGO -- Matt Grace pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings in place of injured Max Scherzer and Howie Kendrick hit a leadoff homer and drove in two runs to help the Washington Nationals beat the San Diego Padres 7-1 on Friday night.
Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start and placed on the 10-day disabled list with a sore neck. Grace and five relievers held San Diego to four hits.
Grace, who grew up in the Los Angeles area and pitched at UCLA, made his first big league start and his first start since 2012 when he was with Single-A Potomac. It was his 61st big league appearance.
The left-hander allowed two hits, struck out one and walked one. He retired Cory Spangenberg on a grounder to open the fifth and manager Dusty Baker came out to get him after 52 pitches.
Shawn Kelley came on and with one out allowed Dusty Coleman's solo homer into the second deck in left field, his fourth.
Joe Blanton (2-2) pitched a scoreless sixth for the win.
Kendrick homered to left on the third pitch from Luis Perdomo, his sixth leadoff shot this season and seventh homer overall. Kendrick also hit an RBI single with no outs in the seventh to chase Perdomo and give the Nationals a 5-1 lead. Pinch-hitter Alejandro De Aza hit a sacrifice fly one batter earlier.
Adam Lind hit an RBI single in the sixth.
Washington's Michael A. Taylor robbed Yangervis Solarte of a home run with a perfectly timed leap to catch the ball above the 396 sign in center field leading off the second, and right fielder Andrew Stevenson made a nice running catch of Wil Myers' fly ball with a runner on third to end the fourth.
Perdomo (6-8) allowed five runs, three earned, and six hits while striking out five and walking three.