WASHINGTON (AP) — J.D. Martinez homered and drove in three runs in his return from the injured list, Freddie Freeman set a Dodgers record with his 53rd double of the season, and Los Angeles beat the Washington Nationals 8-5 on Friday night.
Max Muncy and Kiké Hernandez had solo shots for Los Angeles, which reduced its magic number in the NL West to eight. The Dodgers lead Arizona by 13 games and hold the tiebreaker over the Diamondbacks.
CJ Abrams and Keibert Ruiz homered for last-place Washington, which has dropped nine of 11.
The Dodgers were without All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts, who fouled a ball off his left foot Thursday night. Manager Dave Roberts said after the game a CT scan and an MRI showed no major injuries, and Betts was diagnosed with a bone bruise.
“I still stand by I don’t see him making an appearance this weekend,” Roberts said.
Betts led the NL in on-base percentage (.411) and slugging percentage (.609) entering Friday, and ranked third in RBIs (99), fourth in home runs (a career-high 38) and fifth in batting average (.314).
Trailing 5-4 entering the sixth, the Dodgers put the first two men on against Robert Garcia (0-2). Jordan Weems entered and induced a sacrifice bunt before Chris Taylor lashed a two-run double to right-center. Two walks loaded the bases to set up Martinez’s sacrifice fly, and Muncy then sharply singled to center on reliever Jose A. Ferrer’s first pitch to score another run.
Alex Vesia (1-5) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for Los Angeles before rain delayed the game for 1 hour, 34 minutes in the top of the seventh. Evan Phillips worked the ninth for his 22nd save.
Martinez hit a two-out, two-run homer in the first inning off Washington starter MacKenzie Gore in his first plate appearance since Aug. 19. He was activated earlier in the day after having missed the previous 17 games with groin tightness.
“He tried to go to the well one too many times on the high heater, and J.D. put a good swing on it,” Roberts said. “I think getting back into a big league game and having success and hitting a homer, I’m sure it was a relief for him.”
Muncy led off the fourth with a blast into the third deck in right field off Gore, his 33rd of the season, and Hernandez added a solo shot two batters later.
Gore allowed four runs while striking out four. Manager Dave Martinez said Gore was lifted after four innings because of a blister on his left hand.
Ruiz hit a three-run homer in first and Abrams added a two-run shot in the fifth off Dodgers starter Emmet Sheehan. The right-hander yielded five runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Freeman’s double broke Johnny Frederick’s single-season record for a Dodger, set in 1929. He finished 3-for-4.
“This franchise has been around for a very long time,” Freeman said. “A lot of winning seasons. A lot of great players have come through here. Just to be able to be mentioned with some of these guys that (I’ve) kind of been climbing the leaderboard on is pretty cool. It’s been a wonderful two years so far, so hopefully I can just keep re-breaking it for the next couple weeks.”
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler will not return from Tommy John surgery this season. Buehler, who underwent the ligament replacement procedure on Aug. 23, 2022, pitched two scoreless innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday before the decision was made for him to focus on returning in 2024. ... Los Angeles optioned INF Michael Busch to Oklahoma City.
Nationals: OF Lane Thomas (back) remained out of the lineup for the third consecutive game. ... Washington placed C Riley Adams (broken left hamate bone) on the 10-day injured list and recalled 2B Luis García from Triple-A Rochester.
Dodgers: RHP Bobby Miller (9-3, 3.80 ERA), who is 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break, starts Saturday for Los Angeles.
Nationals: RHP Jake Irvin (3-5, 4.35) has recorded a no-decision in seven consecutive starts since July 26 but has a 3.43 ERA in that span.
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