The depleted Dodgers continue to surprise us.
Justin Turner hit two home runs and knocked in five runs as the Los Angeles Dodgers stunned the undefeated Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals 6-3, on Thursday morning in Washington D.C.
Nearly two months after the Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs on a day Jake Arrieta started, snapping a streak of 23 games, LA handed Nationals' ace Stephen Strasburg his first loss of the season and Washington's only loss at Nationals Park this year with their star right-hander on the mound.
After a two-out double for Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning, Turner greeted Strasburg with a two-run blast to left center and the Dodgers had an early 2-0 lead.
Strasburg (13-1) tried to a sneak an 83MPH slider on a full count past Turner and the red-hot third baseman didn't miss it, connecting on his 16th home run of the season.
"He threw me one earlier in the count and he threw me another one on 3-2," Turner told Alanna Rizzo of SportsNetLA of the first home run. "Thankfully, I was able to put a good swing on it."
The Nationals cut the lead in half in the bottom half of the inning as Washington started with back-to-back singles off teenage sensation, Julio Urias.
Bryce Harper brought home the run on a sacrifice fly to left field in a matchup of two of the youngest and most touted teenage stars of the past five years took place at the plate.
Urias settled in from there and outpitched the two-time All-Star Strasburg through four innings on Thursday. The rookie left-hander allowed just one run on five hits with four strikeouts in four solid innings.
"I'm happy for the team, happy for the opportunity and glad I was able to make the best of it," Urias said through a translator. "I tried to stay focused and do the best job I could."
Urias was recalled up from Triple-A Oklahoma City before the game along with relief pitcher Grant Dayton. The left-hander hadn't pitched more than one inning in the last 17 days, and the team is still being cautious with his workload.
"It's a little hard to go up and down all the time," Urias said. "But, when you get the opportunity you have to make the most of it and take advantage of the situation."
The Dodgers are monitoring Urias' workload and he was removed after four innings after just 77 pitches and therefore was unable to pick up his second win of the season after not lasting the minimum five innings.
Turner tagged Strasburg again as the Dodgers scored four runs off the 2014 NL Leader in strikeouts in the top of the third inning.
Strasburg surrendered three straight singles to veterans Chase Utley, Howie Kendrick—who extended his hit-streak to 13 games—and Gonzalez to start the inning before allowing a game-changing, three-run blast to Turner.
"I got one up in the zone and got enough of it for it to get out of the ballpark," Turner said.
Strasburg wanted no-part of the scorching hot hitter, throwing three straight balls before leaving a 93MPH fastball up in the zone that Turner crushed to centerfield for his career-high 17th home run of the season.
"I got to a 3-0 count and with guys in scoring position I was looking to be aggressive," Turner said of getting the green light on the 3-0 count. "I haven't done that a lot this year [swing on 3-0], just the second time I've done that this season, the first time I got a single so maybe I should that more often."
Turner's previous high in home runs was set last season, his second full season with Los Angeles.
Strasburg allowed six runs in a start for the first time since May of last season and it was the first time he served up two homers to a single player in the same game since Tyler Colvin of the Colorado Rockies did it on June 6, 2012.
"Everyone knows the type of pitcher he is," Turner said of Strasburg. "To get some early runs off him and get an early lead for Julio [Urias] who pitched four innings on a pitch count was great."
Strasburg allowed six runs on seven hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts in six innings as his 16-game winning streak was snapped. He also became just the third Nationals pitcher with 10 strikeouts and six runs allowed in the same game, joining Floyd Youmans (1986) and Scott Sanderson (1982).
Strasburg was seeking to become just the third pitcher in MLB history, joining Dave McNally (15) and Roger Clemens (14) to start the season with 14 consecutive wins, but his bid for history was stopped short less than 24 hours after his 28th birthday.
The Nats added runs in the sixth and seventh innings as eight different Dodger pitchers combined to get the victory.
Adam Liberatore (2-0) picked up the win pitching his MLB-leading 27th consecutive scoreless appearance and Kenley Jansen worked the ninth for his 28th save of the season.
"A lot of guys in our clubhouse were pushing for him to make the All-Star Team," Turner said of Liberatore. "Everytime he comes in the game, we know he's going to throw strikes and attack hitters."
The Dodgers win the three-game series in the Nation's capital and have won 5-of-6 in the season series against Washington overall. They move within four games of the idle San Francisco Giants for first place in the NL West, the closest they've been since they were three games back on June 10th.
Players of the Game:
Justin Turner: 2-for-3 with two home runs and five RBI
Adrian Gonzalez: 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored.
Julio Urias: 1 run on 5 hits with four strikeouts in 4 IP.
1. Red Dream: Justin Turner almost single-handedly defeated the Washington Nationals on Thursday as he provided most of the Dodgers offense with two home runs and five RBI. It was Turner's second mulit-homer game of the season (June 17 against MIL) as he set a new career-high with 17 long balls on the season thus far.
2. Two-Timing: Stephen Strasburg allowed two home runs in the same game to the same player for the first time since former Colorado Rockies outfielder Tyler Colvin did it on June 6, 2012. Strasburg's 16-game win streak was snapped on Thursday as the Nationals were 20-1 during that span.
In case you're wondering, Justin Turner became the 2nd player ever to have a multi-HR game vs Stephen Strasburg. The other was Tyler Colvin. — TD (@Tdzielak) July 21, 2016
3. Strike em' out, hit it out: Stephen Strasburg became just the third pitcher in Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos history to record 10 strikeouts but allow six earned runs or more in the same game. Strasburg joined Floyd Youmans (1986) and Scott Sanderson (1982) as the only other pitchers to do it.
Stephen Strasburg: 3rd Nationals/Expos pitcher w/ 10 K and 6 ER allowed in a game, joining Floyd Youmans (1986) and Scott Sanderson (1982) — ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 21, 2016
Dodgers (54-43): Brandon McCarthy makes his fourth start since coming off the disabled list with Tommy John Surgery when LA heads to St. Louis for a three-game series with the Cardinals. First pitch is 5:15PM PST.
Nationals (57-39): Washington will host the San Diego Padres on Friday for a three-game weekend since in D.C.
All quotes courtesy of TWC SportsNetLA.