Los Angeles, CA — The Washington Nationals were trying to end their weekend with a sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers but came up a little short.
After losing two straight, the Dodgers found their mojo on Wednesday with Hanser Alberto starting the hit party.
Alberto smacked a two-run double during the Dodgers’ six-run first inning, and the Dodgers avoided a sweep by the majors’ worst team with a 7-1 victory Wednesday.
The bats that were dormant through the first two games against Nationals pitching came alive and did so early in the game.
Gavin Lux had three hits and drove in two runs, while Mookie Betts reached base four times for the Dodgers. Los Angeles had won 19 of 21 before losing twice this week to the Nationals.
“The first two games didn’t go how we wanted, but to get it rolling early (today) gave us a lot of momentum,” Lux said.
The Dodgers’ starter struggled a bit with his command allowing 3K’s over four frames but was able to regain his composure as the Nats’ only managed one hit off of him.
Heaney went away from his changeup and went strictly fastball-slider with 75-percent usage on the hard stuff that earned an impressive nine whiffs on 20 swings by Nationals’ hitters. Heaney threw four innings of scoreless, one-hit ball in his return from a lengthy absence for the finale of the Dodgers’ 5-2 homestand after hosting the All-Star Game.
Justin Turner had an RBI single in the first inning of his return from an abdominal injury, and Los Angeles never looked back after the first inning.
“Getting those guys back is certainly helpful,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Although Heaney’s control wasn’t great after he cooled off during his teammates’ huge first inning. Heaney had only pitched just once since April 17 due to shoulder issues, but he has been on point when healthy in his first season with the Dodgers: He lowered his ERA to 0.47 with three walks and 4K’s while on a very strict pitch count.
“I’m a little annoyed with myself for having a few long innings,” Heaney said. That puts a strain on the bullpen. I haven’t pitched more than two games in a row this year, so I want to get into that flow.”
Los Angeles sent Nats starter Patrick Corgin to the showers early when their first 10 batters combined for seven hits — two by Betts — and a walk while making just two outs on 45 pitches. The Dodgers scored all of its runs in the inning with two outs, and the rally continued when Victor Robles and Juan Soto allowed Lux’s fly ball to fall between them in right field for a double.
Corbin (4-14) had the shortest outing of his 11-year major league career, failing to get out of the first inning for the first time in his 250 starts.
“After the 40th pitch, I was getting a little worried,” Nats manager Dave Martinez said. “I didn’t want him to get hurt. He’s throwing the ball well, but he’s just not finishing.”
Maikel Franco’s single leading off the third inning was the Nationals’ only hit until the seventh, when Luis García drove in their lone run with a ground-rule double.
Alex Vesia (3-0) pitched a scoreless sixth for LA.
Nationals: After a day off, Aníbal Sánchez (0-2, 6.30 ERA) takes the mound Friday when Washington opens a three-game weekend home series against St. Louis.
Dodgers: Tyler Anderson (10-1, 2.79 ERA) takes the hill at Coors Field on Thursday to open a four-game series with the Colorado Rockies.