WASHINGTON (AP) - Hiroki Kuroda had never allowed three homers in a game in his four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Washington Nationals finally got to him for three on Monday - in the first inning.
Michael Morse, Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth connected during Kuroda's shaky start, and Morse also went deep against the right-hander in the sixth inning, sending the Dodgers to a 7-2 loss.
``I didn't have my slider in the first inning, or throughout the game,' Kuroda said through an interpreter.
John Lannan pitched into the sixth inning for the Nationals, who had dropped 10 of 12.
Los Angeles now has dropped two straight following an 11-1 stretch.
Kuroda (11-15) had a season-high nine strikeouts, but gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings. He entered with a career-high four-game winning streak and hadn't given up five earned runs in a game since a May 28 loss to Florida.
He settled down after the rocky first inning and didn't allow another run until Morse's second homer of the game.
``He got himself into a groove and pitched well after that,' Dodger manager Don Mattingly said. ``He gave us some chances to kind of creep back in.'
Jamey Carroll and Matt Kemp hit consecutive doubles in the first to give the Dodgers the lead, but Desmond led off the bottom half with a drive to left-center on 1-2 slider.
``They kind of had the momentum right there in the first inning,' Desmond said. ``It was nice for us to answer back and then continue to keep it going the rest of the game. That's something we haven't done this year.'
After Rick Ankiel singled and Ryan Zimmerman's fly ball was caught at the wall, Morse's drive cleared the fence in left. Werth followed with another shot to left, also on a slider, for the fourth set of back-to-back home runs by the Nationals this season.
``That was the pitch that gave us trouble in the first inning,' Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said of Kuroda's slider. ``They did a good job hitting the ones that we left in the strike zone. After we made an adjustment and started using the split-finger more, along with sinker, and after that he was able to cruise through the next few innings.'
Justin Sellers hit an RBI double in the ninth for Los Angeles. Ellis finished with a double and a single.
Morse drove in three runs and was one of five Nationals with two hits.
Lannan (9-11), who had lost his previous four starts, allowed one run and five hits in 5 1-3 innings.
``He was pretty good,' Ellis said. ``He does a good job mixing speeds. His fastball and changeup look so much alike. He does a good job with deception and it's tough to sit on a certain speed. He's got the ability to throw any pitch on any count. He's tough and he got the better of us today.'
Collin Balester, Tom Gorzelanny, Tyler Clippard and Sean Burnett combined for the final 3 2-3 innings.
Los Angeles put two on with no outs in the fourth inning but Russ Mitchell grounded into a double play that nearly was a triple play, and Tony Gwynn Jr. flied out to left to end the inning.
``We didn't put many up today, but we really didn't give ourselves a lot of chances,' Mattingly said.
NOTES: The Dodgers entered having won four consecutive series. ... Mattingly said the Dodgers will add several minor leaguers on Tuesday. ... Rain is forecast throughout the day on Tuesday, potentially interfering with Stephen Strasburg's season debut for the Nationals. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft is returning to the majors after undergoing Tommy John surgery last fall. ``If (Strasburg) warms up and it rains, we'll probably have to do it another day,' Washington manager Davey Johnson said. ... Ted Lilly (9-13) is scheduled to start Tuesday for the Dodgers.
The Associated Press News Service
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