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Hernandez loses command in Dodgers' 6-4 loss

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 1, 2014 at 11:48 pm •  Published: September 1, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Roberto Hernandez lost his touch against the Washington Nationals early in the game.

He gave up a career-worst four home runs in a 6-4 loss on Monday night that cut the Los Angeles Dodgers' lead in the NL West to two games.

The right-hander had beaten the Nationals twice without allowing an earned run in 15 1-3 innings this season, the second time coming last month in his final start with Philadelphia. But Hernandez gave up a two-out homer to Jayson Werth in the first inning, and the Nationals were off and hitting.

"You get behind in too many counts and you've got to pay," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "You help them a lot by continuing to get behind in the count."

Hernandez (2-2) gave up five runs and five hits in 4 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked four.

"It surprised me a lot," he said through a translator. "I didn't have command of my pitches from the first inning. It was just a matter of things not working for me. It wasn't that I had lost confidence."

Denard Span hit two of Washington's four homers and Gio Gonzalez got his first victory of the second half for the East-leading Nationals (78-58), who own the NL's best record.

The Dodgers (77-61) are close behind in pursuit of the top seed, despite losing for the third time in four games.

Gonzalez (7-9) allowed three runs and three hits in six-plus innings. The left-hander was 0-5 with a 4.38 ERA in his previous nine games.

He also doubled and scored on Anthony Rendon's double off Brandon League in the seventh.

Rafael Soriano pitched a shaky ninth to earn his 31st save. He yielded an RBI single to Juan Uribe, after the ball skipped by the mound and caromed off second base, allowing Yasiel Puig to score.

The Dodgers then had runners on the corners with two outs but Joc Pederson took a called third strike in his major league debut.

"I felt like I did a good job of controlling my emotions," Pederson said. "I was just trying to slow the game down."

The Nationals ended August with 40 homers, second-best in the major leagues behind Baltimore. They picked up where they left off to start the final month of the regular season, with Werth and Asdrubal Cabrera adding solo shots.

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