Dodgers 11, Nationals 2: Knack retires final 13 batters he faces, earns first career win

Looking for their first 3-game winning streak since sweeping the Giants to start April, the Dodgers got off to a stronger start against Jake Irvin than they did on April 17 and continued to tack on runs to give Landon Knack much more support than last week.

With 20 total hits in the game, including 12 off of Irvin, the Dodgers improved to 15-11 while the Nationals dropped to 10-13. While they could still finish off a sweep tomorrow afternoon, that’s already the first series in since taking 2 of 3 games in Minnesota back on April 8 and 9.


After scoring a grand total of 0 runs off Irvin at Dodger Stadium last week, the Dodgers’ offense got to work early on Wednesday at Nationals Park.

Of course it began with Shohei Ohtani absolutely smashing another ball as he sent an 0-1 fastball to center for a double at 115.6 mph.

Will Smith cashed in the extra-base hit with two out in the inning, singling to center on a 2-1 sinker to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Knack worked around a pair of singles in the 1st inning to keep the Nationals off the board. The inning included a pair of swinging strikeouts with Jesse Winker going down on a 2-2 fastball and Joey Gallo ending the inning on a 2-2 change-up.

That allowed the Dodgers to tack on another run in the 2nd, which was needed (temporarily, as Knack ran into some trouble himself. A single by Gavin Lux and a double by Andy Pages, who continues to alternate hitless outings with extra-base hits in games, brought Mookie Betts to the plate. A 2-1 sinker went to center to score two to make it 3-0, but a double play for Ohtani ended the threat.

As for Knack, he quickly got two outs in the 2nd inning before struggling to maintain his control after Nick Senzel sent a 3-2 fastball 402 feet to center field. The solo shot made the score 3-1, but a walk, hit batter and two more walks forced home another run for Washington in the inning.

Knack got ahead 1-2 against Trey Lipscomb before walking him and was 0-2 against CJ Abrams before bouncing a slider into his leg which really seemed to rattle him for a bit. Winker walked and Joey Meneses got the RBI after an 8-pitch at bat where he fouled off a pair of 3-2 pitches before taking the final for a ball well off the plate. Luis Garcia Jr. then seemed to do Knack a favor with the bases still loaded as he grounded a first-pitch curve (that did seem to be right over the plate) to second for a force out, but the lead was down to 3-2.

The Dodgers quickly got one of the runs back in the 3rd as Smith doubled and Max Muncy singled him home two pitches later to make it 4-2. A double from Teoscar Hernandez seemed like the Dodgers might be able to get back to a three-run lead, but Muncy held up at third. James Outman (foul out) and Lux (pop out) failed to get the ball out of the infield, leaving two men on base.

With Knack retiring the side in order in the 3rd and 4th, including another strikeout of Gallo, and the Dodgers finally failing to score in the 4th, it appeared the early scoring might be slowing down.

However, in the 5th Smith added an infield single to improve to 3-for-3 in the game and Muncy connected on the team’s fourth double in the game to put two runners in scoring position. While Hernandez struck out and Outman fouled out to the catcher, Lux came through with a clutch 1-2 single to right field.

That put an end to Irvin’s day with 12 hits allowed in 4 2/3 innings and just 3 strikeouts. The Dodgers finished with six hits against Irvin’s fastball, a pitch he entered the game with just four hits allowed in 31 at-bats this season.

On the other end of the spectrum, Knack retired the final 13 batters he faced. With only the 2nd inning’s homer, trio of walks and hit batter causing him much trouble, Knack looked pretty great. As Bruce points out below, a 30 CSW% was impressive and included 8 Whiffs on 25 swings against his four-seamer.

Knack’s pitch usage didn’t shift much from his first meeting with the Nationals as he stuck with 46% fastballs, 33% sliders, and 11% for both the change and curve. Last week, Knack threw 26.7% sliders and 18.7% changes as the only notable difference.

As I referenced earlier, Pages doubled in the game after going 0-for-4 in last night’s win. In his game before that, he finished 2-for-4 with a double and homer against the Mets following an 0-for-4 day on April 20. Well just to make it match even more, Pages sent a 1-1 fastball 375 feet for his second career homer. Adding a single in the 9th, Pages finished 3-for-5 game with the double and homer.

Back-to-back doubles by Betts and Ohtani made it 8-2 in the 8th, but Smith did fail to record his first career 5-hit regular season game by striking out looking at a fastball. Smith’s 5-for-6 game against the Padres in the 2020 NLDS remains unmatched.

The Dodgers refused to let me just be done with this recap and added another three runs in the 9th. After Pages singled and Betts singled, Ohtani doubled (again) and Freeman singled to reach the team’s 20 hits. With Freeman’s single, poor Outman ended up as the only one without a hit in the game.

Ryan Brasier and Ryan Yarbrough finished off the night on the mound for the Dodgers, combining to allow no hits and no walks with 2 strikeouts while needing 32 pitches in the final 3 innings.


Knack had enough to worry about in his second career start, but the infield still was nice enough to let him take care of this himself.



The Dodgers and Nationals will wrap up the series in D.C., and the season series between the teams, tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. PT.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (4.50 ERA/3.02 FIP/2.68 xFIP/2.59 SIERA) and MacKenzie Gore (3.60 ERA/2.31 FIP/2.96 xFIP/2.83 SIERA) will be on the mound. The former Padres lefty faced the Dodgers once with San Diego in 2022, allowing 1 run in 5 2/3 innings, and once last year with Washington when he allowed 4 runs in 4 innings. J.D. Martinez, Muncy and Enrique Hernandez brought home all four runs on a trio of homers off Gore.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree.