Nationals meet Dodgers in NLDS rematch (Jun 05, 2017)

BY AP • June 5, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- In the teams' first matchup since last year's National League playoffs, the Washington Nationals square off against the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-game series beginning Monday at Dodger Stadium.

Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (4-1, 3.03 ERA) will oppose Dodgers southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-5, 3.91) in the opener of a matchup of two of the majors' top clubs. Washington (35-20) sports the second-best mark in baseball behind the Houston Astros, while Los Angeles (35-23) has the fourth-best record.

The Nationals and Dodgers haven't clashed since Los Angeles captured the NL Division Series in five games last October.

Washington is 5-1 on a nine-game, 10-day West Coast swing. After sweeping the San Francisco Giants to open the trip, the Nationals took two of three from the Oakland A's, capping the series with an 11-10 victory on Sunday.

Ryan Zimmerman hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning, and the Nationals also got home runs from Matt Wieters and Michael Taylor in a five-run ninth inning in the finale against the A's.

Washington slugger Bryce Harper returned to the lineup Sunday after serving a three-game suspension for charging the mound and exchanging punches with San Francisco Giants reliever Hunter Strickland, who hit him with a pitch May 29. Harper, who spent the off time at his Las Vegas home, went 0-for-2 on Sunday with two strikeouts and three walks, including one intentional. He scored twice.

"I wanted to be in the lineup as quick as possible," Harper said before the game. "And I think getting (the suspension) done and not really letting it linger (was beneficial). I want to play at home, of course, and don't want to linger into L.A. It's a big series down in L.A. we got, so trying to get it done as quick as possible, get it out of the way."

Gonzalez will be making his fourth career regular-season start at Dodger Stadium, where he is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA. The lefty blanked the Dodgers with eight scoreless innings in an 8-3 romp on Aug. 10, 2015, at Dodger Stadium. He struck out six and walked one.

Overall, Gonzalez is 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA in five career starts against Los Angeles.

In his last start on Tuesday, Gonzalez worked 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits in a 6-3 win over San Francisco. He struck out six and walked three, earning his first win since April 27, when he defeated the Colorado Rockies.

Ryu gave up a run on three hits in six hits in his most recent start, Thursday in a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals. He struck out four and walked one. It was Ryu's first start since he recorded a win against the Miami Marlins on May 18.

He was briefly demoted to the bullpen, and he pitched four shutout innings for a save May 25 against the St. Louis Cardinals in his lone relief appearance.

Ryu will be facing the Nationals for the first time.

The Dodgers completed a 4-3 trip Sunday, falling to the Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 at Miller Park. Los Angeles grabbed two of three from Milwaukee after splitting a four-game series with the Cardinals.

"I thought we played good baseball," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "We ran into some good pitching. We won some games late. I thought it was a good trip. To go on the road and go 4-3, I thought it was positive."



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