Wood gets 15th win, Dodgers hit 3 HRs vs. Nationals
WASHINGTON — Alex Wood pitched his way back into the postseason plans of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night in a big way.
Facing the Washington Nationals, who clinched their second straight division title on Sunday, the veteran left-hander scattered three hits in six innings as the Dodgers posted a 7-0 victory.
Three pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout in a showdown of first-place teams.
Wood had given up nine earned runs in his previous two starts, both losses. But he is now 7-1 on the road this season and won his first-ever start at Nationals Park in five tries while lowering his ERA to 2.69.
“We got ahead and we attacked and it went pretty well,” said Wood, who came off the disabled list June 10 after he had SC joint inflammation. “I thought my stuff was pretty good. I am pretty close. Still a little bit to go ... where I need to be for the playoffs.”
Manager Dave Roberts said he can live with Wood throwing his fastball in the low 90s.
“His stuff was really good. Obviously, he kept those guys in check all night,” Roberts said. “If you strike out Daniel Murphy three times, you know you are doing something right. This is very encouraging.”
Meanwhile, Nationals right-hander Edwin Jackson hurt his postseason chances as he was pulled in the third inning after throwing just 55 pitches. The Washington bullpen didn’t allow a run after Jackson was lifted.
What went wrong for Jackson, who pitched well when he joined the Nationals earlier in the year?
“Mistakes over the zone and not being able to locate and execute my pitches,” said Jackson, whose ERA is now 4.96. “Hats off to the bullpen. They did a great job under the circumstances.”
Washington manager Dusty Baker said Jackson needs to keep the ball down in the zone.
“When he’s missing, he’s missing out over the plate, and they’re not missing. He’s made some quality pitches, but like I said, when he misses it is right over the plate and right around waist-high,” Baker said.
The Dodgers (95-52), who had lost eight of their previous 10 outings, entered with a magic number of seven to clinch the NL West. The Nationals (89-58) have lost three of four since clinching the NL East title on Sunday.
Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig (2-for-4) and Corey Seager (three-run shot) each had home runs for the Dodgers in the first two innings.
Wood (15-3) had eight strikeouts and just one walk before Pedro Baez came on to pitch a scoreless seventh inning. Brock Stewart went two innings to finish the 15th shutout of the season for the Dodgers.
The loser was Jackson (5-6), who has given up 12 runs in his last two starts in just six innings. Andre Ethier added two hits for the Dodgers, who beat the Nationals in five games in the NL Division Series last year.
Turner hit his 20th homer of the year, a solo shot with two outs in the first, to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers scored five in the second for a 6-0 lead.
Puig led off with his 26th homer to make it 2-0. Ethier drove in Chase Utley with a ground-rule double that right fielder Jayson Werth appeared to lose in the twilight as the Dodgers assumed a 3-0 advantage.
“Put that one on me. You can’t do a whole lot about it, but at the same time, you feel terrible for (Jackson). He’s out there busting it for us. It was unfortunate. That was pretty much the game,” Werth said.
Seager hit a three-run homer — his 20th home run of the season — later in the second with two outs to make it 6-0.
Utley drove in a run with a fielder’s choice in the third to push the lead to 7-0 and send Jackson to the showers. The veteran right-hander gave up six hits (three homers) and seven runs with two walks and two strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings.
Wood did a good job of mixing in secondary pitches with his fastball.
“He had a real good changeup and he was throwing it in fastball counts, throwing it 3-2, and it’s good that we get to see these guys because we haven’t seen them in such a long, long time,” Baker said of Wood.
NOTES: The Nationals won two of three against the Dodgers in June in Los Angeles. ... Dodgers LHP Rich Hill (9-8, 3.67 ERA) will face Nationals RHP A.J. Cole (2-4, 4.30) on Saturday. ... Washington manager Dusty Baker played in the World Series for the Dodgers in 1977, 1978 and 1981. He is one win shy of winning 90 games for the 10th time as a manager. ... Dodgers CF Chris Taylor, a University of Virginia product, was 0-for-3 with two walks in the leadoff spot. ... Nationals RHP Edwin Jackson made his big league debut with the Dodgers in 2003. He has played for 12 major league teams.