Pederson homers twice, Maeda cruises, Dodgers beat Nats 5-0
Pederson hit his 14th career leadoff homer in the first inning, tying Rafael Furcal for second on the team’s career list. He struck again in the fifth, putting a ball in the back of Washington’s bullpen for his 12th of the season. Pederson has 11 career multihomer games and three this season.
All 12 of his home runs have come against right-handed pitching, tying the Brewers’ Christian Yelich for most against righties this season. And he is doing his damage with sporadic playing time as the Dodgers rotate their outfielders, other than Cody Bellinger, who plays daily.
“Rhythm and flow plays a huge role into being consistent,” said Pederson, a left-handed hitter who has just 17 at-bats and three hits against lefties this year. “It’s really good when you can get in there and get into game flow to ride out pitches.”
Maeda gave up just Wilmer Difo’s single to lead off the third as the Dodgers won for the 11th time in their last 12 home games. Maeda (4-2) struck out six and walked two.
“I had a good feeling on my pitches around the fifth and six innings in my outing (Sunday) at San Diego,” Maeda said through a translator. “The biggest difference was my slider. I had a good feeling on the break, and I was able to carry that over today.”
Julio Urías pitched three innings of scoreless relief for his second career save. It was Urías’ second save in two outings after he pitched a scoreless inning Monday, but the Dodgers prefer the swing man to get multiple innings whenever possible.
“He is strong in every facet of the word, physically, and more importantly mentally with the different roles that are presented to him,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Anibal Sanchez (0-6) allowed three runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings, including both of Pederson’s homers. He has not won a start since Sept. 23 and has not won a game on the road since Aug. 3.
“It’s many years at this level, I played through everything,” Sanchez said. “I need to continue to work. At some point, everything is going to change for good. As long as I continue healthy, I think I can do something good on the mound.”
The Dodgers also got an RBI triple from Chris Taylor in the fourth on a ball misplayed by right fielder Adam Eaton.
David Freese added a two-run homer in the seventh off reliever Matt Grace to give the Dodgers 39 home runs at home this season.
Dodgers third baseman Max Muncy preserved the shutout with two outs in the eighth with a diving stop on Anthony Rendon’s hard, bases-loaded grounder down the line. Muncy got to his feet and dived to third base for a force out.
The Dodgers won without shortstop Corey Seager, who was scratched shortly before first pitch and was not on the bench at the start of the game due to a personal matter. Seager was back in the dugout and available to pinch hit in the later innings.
“Corey just had something personal that came up literally an hour before the game so he had to go take care of it,” Roberts said. “Family first. Personal stuff first. He went and took care of it and was back on the bench sometime in the middle of the game.”
The Dodgers also played without third baseman Justin Turner, who was given a day off against a right-handed pitcher.
Nationals: LF Juan Soto, on the 10-day injured list with back spasms, took batting practice and ran the bases. He is expected to be activated before Saturday’s game.
Dodgers: LHP Caleb Ferguson started a rehab assignment at Class A Rancho Cucamonga following an oblique strain. Ferguson struck out two and walked one in a scoreless inning.
Nationals: The Nationals are 1-7 this season in games started by RHP Max Scherzer (1-4, 3.78 ERA), including five straight losses. That’s the longest such skid for Scherzer’s teams in his starts since a six-game slide for Arizona and Detroit spanning the 2009 and ’10 seasons.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (4-0, 4.95) hit 99 mph for the first time this season in his start Monday against the Braves and also reached 100 pitches for the first time.