Pujols helps Dodgers to 7-game season sweep of Nationals

WASHINGTON — Albert Pujols hit a go-ahead single as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a seven-game season sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 5-1 win Sunday.

Los Angeles has won a season-high nine straight games since getting no-hit on June 24 by the Chicago Cubs, who lost their following eight games. The Dodgers improved to a season-best 22 games over .500 at 53-31 following a sweep of the four-game series.

Beat-up Washington has lost four in a row.

In a game that started shortly after 11 a.m. on the Fourth of July, Joe Ross (5-8) threw his fastest pitch since the 2016 NL Division Series, a year before Tommy John surgery, making a 97.2 mph offering to Matt Beaty in the first inning.

The score was tied 1-1 when Gavin Lux doubled leading off the seventh inning.

Pujols, the 41-year-old three-time MVP signed in May after he was released by the Los Angeles Angels, hit for pitcher David Price (4-0) with one out and pulled a 1-2 slider into left field for a 2-1 lead.

With 2,132 RBIs, Pujols trails only Babe Ruth (2,214) and Hank Aaron (2,297). Pujols has a .345 batting average and 56 RBIs in 75 games against Washington.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez brought left-handed closer Brad Hand with two outs to face left-handed Max Muncy, who doubled for a 3-1 lead. Muncy added a two-run double off Wander Suero in the ninth.

Ross allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings with no walks and 11 strikeouts, his most since 2017.

Price, the fifth of eight Dodgers pitchers, gave up two hits in scoreless innings on what manager Dave Roberts planned as a bullpen day.

Alcides Escobar had three hits in his second game since he was traded to Washington.

Starling Castro put Washington ahead with an RBI single in the third, and Beaty’s solo homer tied the score in the fourth.

Washington was without slugger Kyle Schwarber, among 12 Nationals on the 10-day injured list, due to a strained right hamstring strain. Shortstop Trea Turner. Turner has not played since jamming his left middle finger on Wednesday.


Nationals: C Yan Gomes (right forearm) did not start for the Nationals after being hit by a pitch Saturday night. Gomes is day-to-day. … RHP Kyle Finnegan threw a bullpen session on Sunday. He will need to face live batters before being activated.

Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner did not start, but pinch hit in the ninth. He was hit by a pitch that glanced off his shoulder then struck his helmet. Turner stayed in the game.


Nationals: LHP Jon Lester (2-3, 5.34 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday’s series opener in San Diego.

Dodgers: A four-game series with Miami starts in Florida before a three-game series in Dodger Stadium against Arizona finishes the pre-All-Star break schedule. RHP Walker Buehler (8-1, 2.35) is scheduled to start Monday.

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