Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett tosses the ball to the dugout after during… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
Having finished their season's business at home with the Miami Marlins, the Dodgers returned to the major league portion of their schedule Monday against the Washington Nationals.
And the results were predictable, with Jordan Zimmermann holding the Dodgers to two runs in 72/3 innings and Ryan Zimmerman driving in three runs in a 6-2 Nationals win at Dodger Stadium.
That ended a two-game winning streak and left the Dodgers winless in eight consecutive games against teams not from Miami. So with eight of their next 11 games against teams a combined 21 games over .500, things could get worse before they get better.
BOX SCORE: Washington 6, Dodgers 2
And things are already pretty bad. Take Monday, for instance, when the Dodgers made two errors that led to three unearned runs, walked five batters — two of whom came around to score — and went one for 11 with runners in scoring position.
By the third inning, the Nationals led 4-0 — and many in the crowd of 32,337 were already booing.
Josh Beckett struggled from the start, falling behind after four batters when Denard Span led off with a single, moved up on a single and scored on Zimmerman's groundout.
The Nationals broke the game open two innings later, thanks in part to two Beckett walks and an error by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Zimmerman again delivered the big blow with a two-run, bases-loaded double off the right-field wall.
Beckett (0-5), who tweaked his groin covering first in the inning, came out for a pinch-hitter, having lasted a season-low three innings. Manager Don Mattingly blamed the short and ineffective outing on physical issues.
“I'm healthy enough to pitch,” he said. “The main thing that's bothering me is I'm just stinking. I'm just in one of those ruts right now; it seems like they hit the ball soft it's a hit, they hit it hard it's a hit. So I have to figure out how to get out of that.”
Zimmermann (7-1), on the other hand, has been brilliant, leading the majors in victories. And he's gotten better as the spring has worn on, posting a 0.85 earned-run average in his last four starts
But this win almost proved costly for Washington, which saw Bryce Harper leave the game in the fifth after running into the scoreboard embedded in the right-field fence while chasing an A.J. Ellis drive that went for a triple. Harper, who was checked out at a hospital, needed 11 stitches to close a gash on his neck and had a jammed left shoulder.
Ellis scored the Dodgers' first run a batter later, then Matt Kemp's RBI single in the eighth ended Zimmermann's night. It was the first time Zimmermann has given up multiple runs in a game since April 21 and the nine hits he allowed were the most he's surrendered this season.
The task for the Dodgers now, Mattingly said, is to bounce back Tuesday when their ace, Clayton Kershaw, takes the mound.
“We're going to find out if we're going to get right back on the horse and get ready to play a game,” he said.