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LOS ANGELES -- Even the red-hot Washington Nationals offence proved no match for Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw pitched eight strong innings for his major league leading 17th win and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 4-1 Tuesday night. Kershaw (17-3) gave up three hits and one run, walked two and struck out eight to win his third straight start and lower his ML-leading ERA to 1.70. He also went 1 for 2 with a run scored at the plate. "He spoils us, thats for sure," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Hes just so valuable for us." The Nationals came in with 14 home runs in their previous four games, including four against the Dodgers on Monday. Kershaw quickly quieted their bats, working through six shutout innings before giving up a solo homer to Bryce Harper in the seventh, his only blip of the night. It was the first homer hit by a lefty against Kershaw this season. "He just didnt give us any opportunities," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "Thats why hes doing so well. Hes just not making any mistakes." Kershaw retired 12 straight at one point and, with his eight strikeouts, surpassed the 200-strikeout mark for the fifth consecutive season. He joins Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Don Sutton as the only pitchers in franchise history with at least five seasons of 200 strikeouts. "You always want to be consistent," Kershaw said. "You try to give your team a chance. When you only get to contribute once every five days its important for the starting pitcher to get some momentum." Kershaw was also responsible for jump starting the Dodgers offence. He laced a one-out single to centre in the fifth, advanced to third on Dee Gordons single and scored on Adrian Gonzalezs infield single to break a scoreless tie. "He was impressive all the way around tonight," Mattingly said. "Getting our offence going, going hard first to third on the basepaths, it just shows what a competitor he is." Gordon raced home from second on Gonzalezs single when shortstop Ian Desmonds throw to the plate sailed over the head of catcher Wilson Ramos. Juan Uribe added a two-run homer in the sixth to extend the Dodgers lead to 4-0, and that was enough for Kershaw and closer Kenley Jansen. Jansen came on in the ninth and pitched a hitless frame for his 39th save. Doug Fister (12-6) took the loss for the Nationals. He went five-plus innings, gave up 10 hits, four runs, walked two and struck out two. Gonzalez went 2 for 3 with a walk, Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis both went 2 for 4 and Joc Pederson got his first career hit in his first career start, a bloop single to centre in the second inning off Fister. With the win, the Dodgers (78-61) moved behind the Nationals (78-59) for the National Leagues best record. "We needed to get the W tonight," Kershaw said. "It was good to get it." TRAINERS ROOM Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche sat out Tuesdays game due to lower back stiffness. Kevin Frandsen started at first base in his place. LaRoche is day-to-day. UP NEXT Nationals: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (10-5, 2.93) hasnt lost since July 11. He is 1-0 in two career starts at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers: RHP Carlos Frias (0-0, 5.65) will make his first major league start. The 24-year old rookie has allowed 13 hits and nine runs in 14 1/3 innings with the Dodgers this season. He was primarily a starter in Triple-A, going 8-4 with a 5.01 ERA. Solomon Thomas Womens Jersey . -- Get a flow chart ready to follow the Packers quarterback situation. 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BALTIMORE -- Baltimore manager Buck Showalter is running out of adjectives to describe how much Steve Pearce has meant to the Orioles this season. Pearce had a career-high four hits and drove in two runs, and Wei-Yin Chen shut down Texas again as the Orioles completed a four-game sweep of the Rangers with a 5-2 victory on Thursday night. The Rangers have lost nine consecutive road games -- their longest skid since 2005 when Showalter was Texas manager. Baltimore (46-39) completed its first four-game sweep against the Rangers since 2004 and improved to a season-high seven games over .500. The Orioles managed the feat while playing without All-Star third baseman Manny Machado, who is serving a five game suspension for throwing his bat on June 8 against Oakland. "Were relying on some people, and people are stepping up," Pearce said. "Were pitching, were hitting. Were having timely hitting. Were finding ways to get it done." Chen (8-3) allowed two runs and six hits with four strikeouts and two walks in six innings. He is 4-0 in four starts against Texas with a 1.67 ERA. Left-hander Zach Britton earned his 12th save and hasnt allowed a run in 21 consecutive relief appearances. Pearce, who was released at the end of April and then re-signed, had eight RBIs in the four-game series. Since the beginning of June, he is 31 for 81 (.383) with nine doubles and 17 RBIs. Nick Hundley had two of Baltimores six doubles and scored twice. Texas right-hander Yu Darvish, who was scheduled to pitch Thursday, was pushed back one day after rain delayed the start of the game. With the threat of more rain after a nearly one-hour delay, Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to use long reliever Scott Baker against Baltimore and save Darvish until Friday night when Texas will take on the Mets in New York. The game, however, didnt have another delay. The Orioles are scheduled to play an afternoon game in Boston on Friday. "Its so hard to win a four-game series, or three out of four, in the major leagues," Showalter said. "The guys kept a real intensity level through the rain delay, not knowing whether we were going to play or not. So many dynamics of whats going on with the 1:30 game (Friday), and weather issues there, getting in and out tonight." Baker (0-2) allowed three runs and seven hits with two strikeoutts and one intentional walk in 4 2-3 innings.dddddddddddd. Shin-Soo Choo hit his eighth homer of the season for Texas (37-48), which has lost 13 of 15. "Bake was on alert (Wednesday) when we knew of the weather," Washington said. "It wasnt all of a sudden that Bake would be the guy. He knew coming into today that it was going to be a possibility so he prepared. He went out there and did a good job for us." It was the first time in the Orioles last 34 wins that they didnt hit a homer. Baltimore took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Pearce hit a one-out RBI single to left. Texas responded the next inning when Carlos Penas grounder to second scored Adrian Beltre, who led off with a single. Choo made it 2-1 with a solo shot off Chen in the fifth. "I knew it was going to be delayed from the start so I just went through my routine and waited for the notice that the game was going to start," Chen said through a translator. "So, it wasnt all that difficult. Six innings is the baseline for a starter, so I feel content but I do hope that next time I can go further, deeper in the game." Baltimore regained the lead at 3-2 in the bottom half of the inning. After Ryan Flaherty led off with a double, Hundley followed with another double, and scored on Pearces double to centre. "I probably ran out of gas at the end a little bit," Baker said. "It was pretty muggy out there. It was kind of hard to catch your breath. I would have liked to have made some better pitches, especially that fifth inning. You just cant expect to give a couple of doubles and then them not to score. I would have liked to have had a better showing." The Orioles added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Adam Jones and an RBI single by Chris Davis. NOTES: Baltimore OF Henry Urrutia (sports hernia surgery) will begin a rehab assignment next week. ... Baltimore RHP Bud Norris (strained right groin) took fielding drills, and is expected to throw a bullpen session or simulated game on Friday. Norris is eligible to come off the DL on Monday and could start that night against Washington. ... The Rangers used a new batting order for the 18th consecutive game. ... Pena went 0 for 3 and is mired in a 3 for 33 slump since being promoted from Triple-A Round Rock on June 24. ' ' '