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Apr 25, 2024 7:56 am

Fresh off of 20-hit performance, Dodgers bid for sweep of Nats

Los Angeles Dodgers

It will be difficult for the Los Angeles Dodgers to duplicate the production they’ve put on display this week.

The Dodgers will try on Thursday afternoon, however, when they attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the host Washington Nationals.

Los Angeles compiled 20 hits in Wednesday night’s 11-2 romp, with Mookie Betts and Will Smith each accounting for four and Shohei Ohtani recording three doubles.

“I feel like on any given night, we can do that,” Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux said. “Hitting is contagious. We all kind of went through a little bit of struggle for a couple of games, but obviously we know how good of a team we are and how good of at-bats we can put together. When we’re doing that 1 through 9, it’s going to be really tough to beat us.”

The main beneficiary of the onslaught of runs was Los Angeles starter Landon Knack, who recorded his first career victory in the majors.

“You absolutely love to have the run support right there,” Knack said. “Everything was clicking for those guys. It makes things much easier when they’re just putting up runs.”

Ohtani, who is batting .371 this season, seems to do something special offensively in most games. His performance Wednesday marked the first three-double game of his major league career.

“The ball just does different things when it comes off his bat,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, whose team has won three games in a row.

The Nationals hope for a victory Thursday in the finale of their six-game homestand. They are 2-3 on the trek.

“Try to win (Thursday) and try to leave here with a nice positive attitude,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “We’re not playing awful.”

Washington’s pitching issues overshadowed its woes at the plate Wednesday. The Nationals managed just three hits in that game to boost their total to 10 in the series.

“We just got to hit. We got to try to knock the starters out early,” Martinez said. “We got to get back to working good at-bats, taking pitches, trying to get ahead in the count, but be aggressive also. We’re taking good pitches, and it seems like we’re chasing bad ones.”

Dodgers rookie right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto (1-1, 4.50 ERA) is slated for Thursday’s start. He has struck out 30 in 22 innings. His nine strikeouts and six innings on Friday vs. the New York Mets represented season-high totals.

Left-hander MacKenzie Gore (2-1, 3.60) will start for the Nationals on Thursday. He’s coming off a season-low four innings in last Friday’s loss to the Houston Astros.

Gore has faced the Dodgers in each of the past two seasons without recording a decision. Last September, he gave up four runs in four innings. As a rookie in 2022, he held Los Angeles to one run in 5 2/3 innings.

Washington’s pitching was roughed up in Wednesday’s game, and there will be concerns about taxing the bullpen.

“We got to kind of keep these guys fresh,” Martinez said.

The Dodgers hold a 6-3 road record, while the Nationals are 4-7 in home games.

–Field Level Media

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