Turner, Dodgers hand Nats' Strasburg first loss of season
WASHINGTON >> A hot streak and a home run earlier in the afternoon earned Justin Turner the green light on Stephen Strasburg. He made the most of it.
Turner homered twice and drove in five runs to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-3 victory over Strasburg and the Washington Nationals on Thursday. The two- and three-run home runs got Turner to a career-high 17 on the season and helped Los Angeles beat Washington for the fifth time in six games.
Turner is hitting .323 with four doubles, six home runs and 16 RBIs in July. Catcher A.J. Ellis called the third baseman one of the Dodgers' team MVPs.
"It's almost like it's not even a hot streak anymore," Ellis said. "This is just who J.T is."
Turner's two home runs and Adrian Gonzalez's RBI double were enough to hand Strasburg (13-1) his first loss of the season and end his streak of winning decisions at 16. It's Strasburg's first loss since Sept. 9.
"The guys had a great game plan," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "I thought that they stressed Stras early, and we hit a couple balls out of the ballpark."
Turner, who hit a 3-2 cutter deep to left center in the first inning for his two-run shot and then a 3-0 fastball to center in the third for his three-run shot, said he has been healthy all season but is feeling comfortable again.
He looked plenty comfortable against Strasburg, who allowed a season-high six earned runs on seven hits but also struck out 10 and allowed just one base runner in his final three innings.
"It was just a couple of pitches where I just didn't execute when I needed to, and I got beat on them," said Strasburg, who threw 103 pitches in six innings. "Once I got past those first couple innings I started throwing more first-pitch strikes."
Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias was strong in allowing one run on five hits in four innings. The 19-year-old top pitching prospect was lifted after 77 pitches but did his job of taking care of Nationals hitters Daniel Murphy, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon.
"I tried to focus, 1-9 are all good batters," Urias said through an interpreter. "But we all know the type of batters that are at the heart of the order and I try to focus and do my job.
The Dodgers' bullpen did its job, too, as seven relievers combined for five innings. Left-hander Adam Liberatore (2-0) got the win, and Kenley Jansen recorded his 28th save.
Dodgers: OF Yasiel Puig left the game with right hamstring tightness that occurred when he tried to leg out a grounder as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. Roberts said he didn't know the severity of the injury. ... All-Star SS Corey Seager missed his third consecutive game because of a stomach virus. Roberts said Seager was feeling stronger but didn't want to play him a full game in 90-degree heat and humidity.
Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman (left rib cage sprain) was set to start a rehab stint at Class A Potomac on Thursday night. Manager Dusty Baker said he'd like Zimmerman to play three minor-league games and return Tuesday in Cleveland. ... RHP Joe Ross (shoulder inflammation) threw a bullpen session prior to the game.
KENDRICK TO 13
Howie Kendrick singled in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
"Where we've kind of held ourselves and stayed above water, Howie's been a big part of it," Roberts said.
WERTH THE REST
Originally listed in the starting lineup, Jayson Werth was a late scratch when Baker said he woke up at 3:30 a.m. and changed it to give the outfielder a rest. Werth had a pinch-hit double in the eighth to extend his on-base streak to 25 games.
Dodgers: RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.69 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series in St. Louis against RHP Michael Wacha (5-7, 4.45)
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (9-5, 2.82) continues his impressive season against the San Diego Padres, who are scheduled to start RHP Luis Perdomo (3-4, 7.36) in the series opener at Nationals Park.