WASHINGTON -- It was Star Wars day at Nationals Park on Sunday afternoon. When it was over, the force was strong with Zack Greinke, who outdueled Max Scherzer as the Dodgers blanked the Nationals, 5-0. Greinke, who pitched eight innings, has not allowed a run in 43 2/3 innings, which is the third-longest scoreless streak in Dodgers history.
"Just tremendous again," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said about his All-Star. "I think when these kind of guys get together, Scherzer and him, they know they can't give up runs. And it looked like Zack came out of the gate knowing that he had to be sharp. And he was."
Washington never had a runner in scoring position while Greinke was in the game. Dating back to his last start, Greinke retired 28 straight hitters until Michael Taylor singled to left field with one out in the third inning. The righty allowed three hits and walked one.
A wild pitch by Scherzer proved to be the difference in the game. With two outs, Andre Ethier on third and Alberto Callaspo at the plate in the fourth inning, Scherzer's delivery got by catcher Wilson Ramos. It looked like Ramos had a chance to throw out Ethier at the plate, but his throw went wide of Scherzer.
"He gave up one run, and on a ball that got by Willie," Nats manager Matt Williams said. "Other than that, he was in control. I thought he pitched really well."
Scherzer allowed the one run, struck out eight and walked one over six innings. The walk came in the first inning and it ended his streak of 39 2/3 innings without allowing a walk.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Superb follow-up act: Greinke did a great job following Clayton Kershaw, who also threw eight scoreless innings on Saturday. After the sixth inning, he surpassed Kershaw's 41-inning scoreless streak from last season.
"The [Nationals were] aggressive," Greinke said, "and I was making good pitches that were strikes for a long time and then just kind of went out of the zone at the last second."
Former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser's 59-inning scoreless streak is the longest in Major League history.
Helpless against Greinke: Taylor, Clint Robinson and Yunel Escobar were the only Nationals to collect hits off Greinke, who struck out 11.
Dodgers add insurance runs: One run of support was enough the way Greinke threw, but when he was pinch-hit for to lead off the top of the ninth, the Dodgers went on to expand their lead. Nats reliever Blake Treinen allowed four runs on five hits, recording only one out, which came on a sacrifice bunt. The Dodgers sent 10 hitters to the plate in the frame.
"We couldn't really break through until late, but we kept giving ourselves chances," Mattingly said. "If you keep getting guys out there, you finally are able to crack through."
Nats' bullpen battles back: The Dodgers had a chance to score more runs in the seventh inning. They had the bases loaded with one out, but left-hander Felipe Rivero struck out Ethier and right-hander Aaron Barrett struck out A.J. Ellis to end the threat.
"I wanted to just sit in and relax some. The "God Bless America" saved a couple minutes." -- Greinke, on getting extra rest after a long top of the seventh inning on the bases following his leadoff single.
"I think he was OK. When you are getting five or six inches off the plate, you got to win the game. ... To me, I don't think he is very tough. He is a great pitcher. He does what he does. When you hit six inches off the plate, it's pretty tough to face him." -- Bryce Harper, on Greinke's outing.
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Greinke's six consecutive scoreless starts is tied with Hershiser and Don Drysdale for most in franchise history.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: The Dodgers head to Atlanta for a three-game series with the Braves starting Monday at 4:10 p.m. PT. Former Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy (0-1, 6.75 ERA) will make his second start of the season after returning from his second Tommy John surgery.
Nationals: The Nationals play an important three-game series against the division-rival Mets, who are in second place in the National League East. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.99 ERA) will take the mound at Nationals Park on Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET. He is 8-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 14 career starts against New York.
Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.