The Nationals opened their series in Los Angeles against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers with phenom Bryce Harper arriving for Saturday night.
Kershaw crashed that good feeling early and often, as the Dodgers hung on for a 3-2 win over the Nationals at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw set the tone early by striking out the side in the first inning, sandwiched around an error that got Steve Lombardozzi on base.
Kershaw (2-0) notched his 12th straight win at home, going eight innings, allowing just three hits with one walk and striking out six.
Meanwhile, Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler (2-1) got the first two outs easily in the first but then allowed a single by the hottest hitter in baseball, Matt Kemp.
Andre Ethier was able to turn on a Detwiler pitch and crank a two-run shot over the right field fence to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
Dodgers added to their advantage in the fourth thanks to three singles in the inning. The final safety, a deep dribbler to short that Ian Desmond couldn’t get to Adam LaRoche in time, and Juan Uribe had a RBI single, making it 3-0, Dodgers.
Detwiler ended up going six innings, allowing five hits, three runs, two walks with four strikeouts.
The Nationals finally got to Kershaw in sixth. Jayson Werth led off the frame with a walk and Adam LaRoche followed by tattooing a slider over the right field fence, cutting the Dodgers lead to 3-2.
In the ninth, Danny Espinosa hit a long drive that landed just inches to the right of the right field foul pole that would have tied the game off reliever Kenley Jansen. After a Chad Tracy hit by pitch, Jesus Flores struck out to end the game.
It is only the second time this season the Nationals have lost two games in a row.