LOS ANGELES -- The Nationals put together a five-run sixth inning and Ian Desmond cranked two home runs as Washington rolled past the Dodgers, 8-3, at Dodger Stadium on Monday night.
Although Dodgers starter Brett Anderson had only made one mistake in the first five innings, a two-run homer to Desmond in the second, things unraveled quickly for the southpaw in the sixth. The Nationals batted around and the first seven batters reached base on Anderson before he was replaced by Pedro Baez. When it was finally over, Anderson (5-7) was charged with seven runs in five-plus innings.
"The stuff was bad, I couldn't get anybody out in the sixth," Anderson said. "They're a mistake-hitting team, and I fell behind and made a bunch of mistakes."
Gio Gonzalez was dealing on the mound for Washington. The left-hander provided eight shutout innings, scattered seven hits and struck out six, and he has now won his past five decisions.
"I thought he was in command the whole night," Nationals manager Matt Williams said about Gonzalez. "The key for him was keeping the pitch count down early. That's what we talked about today. He pitched real well."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Nationals score big: Washington scored eight runs on 13 hits. Desmond and Jayson Werth were the hitting heroes, with Desmond hitting two home runs and driving in three runs, while Werth drove in two. The Nationals batted around in the sixth inning, with Werth highlighting the scoring with a two-run double.
"They've got some guys that are a tough matchup for Brett," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Tonight was a game we felt like we never really had a chance to win."
Said Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman: "We're trying to put some things together, score some runs. … Hopefully, we can carry the momentum for the rest of this road trip."
Gio in the zone: Gonzalez had his longest outing of the season, and held the Dodgers to 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, the lone hit not yielding a run. Gonzalez finished having thrown 117 pitches, 76 for strikes, and his lone walk came to the leadoff batter in the eighth inning.
"I felt everything [catcher Jose Lobaton] was putting down was working," Gonzalez said. "I wanted to attack the strike zone. I wanted to be real aggressive with these guys. It was tough for the Dodgers because of the late-night road trip [on Sunday night]. I felt they were going to be real aggressive tonight, just try to work the pitch count. It was just me trying to find Lobby's glove." More >
Puig saves a run: With the game still in reach in the fifth, Yasiel Puig kept the Dodgers within striking distance. With a runner on second and two out, Yunel Escobar hit a fading fly ball into right field. Puig charged the ball to make the diving catch and keep the score at 2-0 in favor of Washington.
Baez bright spot: On a night when not much went the Dodgers' way, Baez provided a flawless outing with two scoreless innings without allowing a hit and four strikeouts. The Dodgers entered the game 26th in the Majors with a 4.19 ERA among relievers, and their leaky bullpen has been a concern since the All-Star break.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With his RBI double in the sixth inning, Zimmerman has collected an RBI in eight straight games, the second-longest streak in Nationals history. Zimmerman has the record with nine straight games, set in 2012.
PERAZA DEBUTS WITH TRIPLE
Dodgers second baseman Jose Peraza made his Major League debut Monday night, and he didn't wait long to record his first career hit.
With two outs in the third inning, Peraza, the club's No. 4-ranked prospect, blooped a 1-2 fastball from Gonzalez into short right field. Washington right fielder Bryce Harper charged in and missed on a slide, and the ball got past him. Peraza, who had 27 stolen bases in the Minors this season, turned on the jets and slid into third base for a triple for his first big league hit. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Nationals: Right-hander Joe Ross gets the start for Washington at 10:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday. In 45 big league innings, Ross has 47 strikeouts and four walks, which would be the best ratio for a rookie in baseball history if he qualified for the minimum innings limit (50). He has allowed seven runs in 20 1/3 innings away from Nationals Park.
Dodgers: The Dodgers have Zack Greinke on the mound for the middle game of the series at 7:10 p.m. PT on Tuesday. Greinke is coming off his worst start of the season, although he still earned the win. Greinke allowed a season-high six runs to the Phillies last Thursday, but went 3-for-3 at the plate with a homer to help the Dodgers earn a 10-8 win.
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. Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.