• Summary: Derek Lowe pitched seven scoreless innings, reached base three times and scored once as the Dodgers shut out the Nationals for the second straight game.
• Hero: Lowe, who began the day batting .105, helped himself by reaching base in all three plate appearances.
• Costly mistake: Russell Martin hit a two-run homer in the sixth for a 4-0 lead. The Dodgers got a break when Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman misplayed Jeff Kent's one-out grounder, and Martin's two-out homer gave Los Angeles a pair of unearned runs.
• Figure this: This was the first time the Nationals have been shut out in consecutive games since May 16-17, 2006, against the Chicago Cubs.
• Quotable: "The final line score looked good, but it was a struggle. The outs weren't coming easy. Early in the game, the stuff wasn't there, so you kind of have to grind it out." -- Lowe
-- ESPN.com news services
Dodgers 5, Nationals 0
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Derek Lowe did a little bit of everything for the Dodgers.Lowe pitched seven scoreless innings, reached base three times and scored a run to help Los Angeles shut out the Washington Nationals for the second straight game, 5-0 on Wednesday night.Lowe (5-5) gave up three hits, struck out five and walked two while allowing only one batter past first base. He combined with relievers Jim Beimel and Rudy Seanez on a four-hitter."The final line score looked good, but it was a struggle," Lowe said. "The outs weren't coming easy. Early in the game, the stuff wasn't there, so you kind of have to grind it out."Lowe said it took some time to find his stuff, but that he felt more comfortable after the first few innings. He retired nine if a row at one point from the third through the sixth innings."As the game went on, it seemed like I got a little bit better," Lowe said. "Today was just a day where I was fortunate to make one good pitch per at-bat."Washington manager Manny Acta didn't seem to think Lowe had very much trouble."He's pretty tough," Acta said. "He's got to be off his game for you to do any damage and he wasn't."Lowe also helped at the plate. He entered the game with a .105 batting average but singled once, walked twice and scored a run, reaching base in all three plate appearances.The Dodgers haven't given Lowe much support at times this season, scoring three runs or less in five of his first 11 starts. But two of Lowe's at-bats led to runs."I tell you what, Derek was good at the plate, too," Los Angeles manager Grady Little said. "He had a couple of big walks, a base hit that contributed to some of the run scoring. It was good to see him come away from there with a win. Maybe that will get him off onto a roll."Los Angeles opened the three-game series Tuesday with a 10-0 victory and got help from starting pitcher Brad Penny at the plate in that contest. He went 2-for-2, and the Dodger starters are 3-for-3 with two walks and a sacrifice in the first two games.Lowe took care of the first seven innings, and Beimel worked the eighth and Seanez pitched the ninth.Nationals starter Mike Bacsik (1-1) allowed six hits and four runs -- two earned -- in six innings.The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Luis Gonzalez led off with a double and moved up when Russell Martin grounded out. Andre Ethier lined an RBI double and after Lowe walked, Rafael Furcal singled home a run.Martin hit a two-run homer in the sixth for a 4-0 lead. The Dodgers got a break when Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman misplayed Jeff Kent's one-out grounder, and Martin's two-out homer gave Los Angeles a pair of unearned runs."I think pitching has been holding us together this year," Martin said. "[But] hitting's going to come along. We've got some guys that hit for a lot of years, and we've got some young guys who can do it, too."Lowe got a one-out walk in the fifth against reliever Ray King and later scored on Nomar Garciaparra's infield single for a 5-0 lead.The Nationals' recent offensive problems continued as they didn't even threaten. They last scored a run in the eighth inning Sunday in a loss in St. Louis.This was the first time the Nationals have been shut out in consecutive games since May 16-17, 2006, against the Chicago Cubs.
Furcal has a 15-game hitting streak, tying his career best. ... Los Angeles improved to a season-best 10 games over .500. ... The Nationals are just 7-18 against teams outside the NL East. They are 14-14 against the NL East.