LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig launched a two-run home run and tied a career high with five RBIs, while Zack Greinke posted six scoreless innings as the Dodgers blanked the Nationals, 5-0, on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers snapped a four-game losing skid with the victory.
Greinke didn't seem especially sharp early on; he allowed four singles in the first three innings. Greinke's high pitch count forced him out of the game after six innings, but the Nationals couldn't push across any runs against the right-hander. Greinke lowered his MLB-leading ERA to 1.66 while extending his scoreless streak vs. Washington this season to 14 innings.
"It's good to win a game, for sure, and get [the losing streak] stopped," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We hang our hats on our pitching. The starters setting the tone for us."
Joe Ross (3-4) took the loss for the Nationals. It was the worst start of the season for the rookie as he allowed a season-high five runs in 4 2/3 innings -- his shortest outing of the year. Ross didn't have his best command, walking four hitters after allowing just four free passes in his prior 45 innings pitched this season.
"His command with his back-door breaking ball wasn't as sharp. Some of [the Dodgers' hitters] made him behind in the count, but he made adjustments when he needed to," Nationals manager Matt Williams said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Puig's big night: Puig entered the game in a 1-for-14 slump in the past five games, but he broke out in a big way to fuel the Dodgers' offense. His homer, his ninth of the season, broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning. In his next at-bat, with the bases loaded, Puig flipped a fly ball to shallow right field that a diving Clint Robinson couldn't come up with, allowing three runs to score as Puig raced into third base.
One big problem for Ross: If you take Puig out of the equation, Ross got through his start without allowing a run. Puig drove in all five runs against the right-hander. Ross didn't have the best defense behind him, with Yunel Escobar's missed tag on Andre Ethier's leadoff triple in the fourth and Robinson's inability to catch the ball hit by Puig that went for a three-run triple in the fifth.
"I had a chance to catch the ball. That's why I tried to slide for it and make the catch. I just couldn't get there. The ball died fast. I just couldn't get there," Robinson said.
Nats make Greinke work: Greinke had to leave after six shutout innings and 109 pitches. Greinke threw 119 pitches over eight shutout innings in a win over the Nats on July 19. The Nats didn't advance a runner past second against Greinke, finished the game 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position, and left eight men on base.
"He is tough. He has good stuff. He did a good job limiting damage by not letting us get any runs," Robinson said about Greinke. "We hit some balls hard that didn't get in there for hits. And when we did get hits, we didn't capitalize on it."
Callaspo flashes the glove: The only danger Greinke faced all night came in the second inning. With two on and two out, Michael Taylor ripped a liner to Alberto Callaspo at third base that seemed destined for left field. But Callaspo dove to his left and snared the ball for the final out of the inning to get the Dodgers out of the jam.
UNDER FURTHER REVIEW
In the bottom of the fourth, Ethier tried to stretch a double into a triple and initially was ruled out on the play after an outstanding throw from Taylor in center field. The throw beat Ethier to the base, but Escobar's tag missed Ethier's leg. After a video review, the call on the field was overturned.
WHAT'S NEXT Nationals: The Nationals will face left-hander Clayton Kershaw for the second time in less than a month in Wednesday's 10:10 p.m. ET series finale. Jordan Zimmermann will get the start for Washington. Zimmermann is 0-2 in five starts since July 12. Before that, he won three consecutive games. In seven starts against the Dodgers, Zimmermann is 2-1 with a 5.00 ERA.
Dodgers: Kershaw will be on the mound for the 7:10 p.m. PT first pitch in the series finale Wednesday. Kershaw had his 37-inning scoreless streak abruptly ended on the first pitch of his last start, as Gregory Polanco hit a solo homer to lead off the game. Kershaw earned a no-decision and allowed four runs in six innings.
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.