It goes from bad to worse (Nats swept by Dodgers)

Well, this is a nightmare of a start for Davey Johnson, Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals.

The Dodgers sent 11 men to the plate in the second inning. They notched six hits, walked twice and scored seven runs.

Can the Nationals score eight times against Clayton Kershaw - the major league leader in ERA - and the Dodgers today? They'll need to plate at least that many runners to have a shot at avoiding a brutal three-game sweep.

Matt Kemp started the damage with a homer to left leading off the second. It was Kemp's first at-bat back off the DL, and apparently his left AC joint is feeling just fine.

The Ellis duo - A.J. and Mark - followed with a single and double, respectively. Kershaw brought in a run on an RBI groundout. Carl Crawford's RBI single scored another run. Nick Punto walked. After an Adrian Gonzalez strikeout, Hanley Ramirez crushed a three-run shot into the Dodgers bullpen.

That made it 6-0, but the Dodgers weren't done.

Zimmermann walked Andre Ethier and Kemp followed with his second extra-base hit of the inning, a double down the left field line that scored Ethier from first.

Mercifully, A.J. Ellis then flew out to center to end the inning.

Jayson Werth got one of the runs back in the bottom of the second with a solo shot to left-center - a missile that made it a 7-1 game.

That's a start. But the Nats need quite a few more of those against arguably the game's best starter in order to make this a ballgame and avoid falling two games below .500 for the first time since June 18.

Zimmermann is done after just these two innings, marking the shortest outing of his career.

His final line: 2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 HR, 58 pitches, 39 strikes.

Just a bad start, or is Zimmermann's neck injury more serious than he and the Nats originally indicated?

Update: The Dodgers added two more runs off Ohlendorf in the fourth, making this a 9-1 game.

Kemp has three hits and three RBIs through four innings all by himself. The Nats have one hit and one RBI in that same span.

Kershaw has thrown just 47 pitches through four, and now has an eight-run lead to work with.

No bueno.

Update II: Werth is 2-for-3 with two homers. The rest of the Nats are 0-for-22.

The Nats' lone two hits off Kershaw have come off the bat of Werth, and both have left the yard in a hurry. Werth now has 12 homers on the season, and this became the 10th two-homer game of his career.

The Dodgers lead 9-2 midway through the eighth.

Ohlendorf has done well to keep this game from spiraling further out of control. He's now worked six strong innings in relief, allowing two runs on six hits. His ERA now stands at 2.03.

The veteran righty is likely to start one of the games of the Nats' doubleheader against the Mets on Friday. The question is whether Zimmermann will start the other.

Update III: This game was all but over midway through the second inning. It just took a couple more hours for the result to be made official.

The Nats fell to the Dodgers 9-2, and the road team will leave D.C. with a three-game sweep.

Another day, another poor offensive performance from the Nats, who managed just four hits and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. The Nats drop to two games under .500 at 48-50 and are now just a game ahead of the Mets in the loss column.

We'll check on the status of Zimmermann, who could potentially be the next Nats pitcher to miss time due to an injury.

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