WASHINGTON -- — A.J. Pollock hit a go-ahead single in the sixth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers extended a winning streak to eight for the third time this season with a rainy 5-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.
Pinch-hitter Chris Taylor added an RBI single in the ninth for a two-run lead.
Kenley Jansen allowed Starlin Castro's single leading off the bottom half and walked Yan Gomes, then struck out Gerardo Parra and Alcides Escobar, and retired pinch-hitter Josh Bell on a soft liner to shortstop for his 21st save in 23 chances.
“I thought it was a good team win,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said.
Defending World Series champion Los Angeles moved a season-best 21 games over .500 at 52-31. The Dodgers began the night a half-game behind NL West-leading San Francisco.
Washington has lost three and a row and is 0-6 this season against the Dodgers.
Albert Pujols hit a hard two-hop smash to shortstop that was bobbled by Escobar, who was acquired Saturday from Kansas City for cash. Escobar picked up the ball and threw to second, but the throw was late, and second baseman Josh Harrison's off-line throw down the first-base line glanced off the glove of Ryan Zimmerman for a throwing error that left runners at the corners.
Escobar said through Nationals team interpreter Octavio Martinez that he was thinking about a double play even before Pujols hit the ball.
Pollock chopped a slow four-hopper to third and beat Castro's throw for an infield single and a 4-3 lead.
Brusdar Graterol (1-0) pitched a hitless inning for the win, a day after he was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take the roster spot of Trevor Bauer, who was put on administrative leave by Major League Baseball while it investigates an assault allegation.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw lasted just 54 pitches and four innings because of rain, which caused a 1- hour, 44-minute delay that kept the game from resuming until 10:20 p.m. As rain started to fall, Yan Gomes hit a tying, three-run homer off Kershaw in the fourth, Gomes' eighth homer this season.
“The rain kind of slowed our momentum down,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said.
The Dodgers' 6-2 win in Thursday's series opener was shortened to five innings because of rain.
Nationals starter Paolo Espino allowed three runs and three hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead in the fourth on sacrifice flies by Smith and Pujols, and Gavin Lux's two-out RBI double.
Nationals: LF Kyle Schwarber (right hamstring strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list. He’s expected to miss a long period because the strain is significant, according to manager Dave Martinez.
Dodgers: LHP Scott Alexander (shoulder) is expected to be activated from the 10-day injured list Monday or Tuesday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. Alexander had 2.31 ERA in 13 games this season.
RHP Joe Ross (5-7, 4.02 ERA) is scheduled to start Sunday's series finale for the Nationals.
Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez breaks Johnny Bench's catcher record with 46th HR
Salvador Perez hit his 46th home run Monday to break Johnny Bench's record for most homers by a catcher in one season.
Perez breaks Bench's record with 46th HR, KC tops Indians
— Salvador Perez hit his 46th home run, breaking Johnny Bench’s record for homers by a catcher in a season, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 7-2 Monday in the first game of a doubleheader.
Right fielder Adam Engel 'feels good,' will be activated by Chicago White Sox with playoffs on horizon
At long last, the White Sox will have their starting outfield back in full, as right fielder Adam Engel is set to be activated from the injured list on Tuesday, according to manager Tony La Russa.
Salvador Perez sets single-season HR record for catchers
Salvador Perez passes Johnny Bench for the most long balls in a season by a catcher, and he also ties Vladimir Guerrero Jr. atop the 2021 home run leaderboard.
Anthony Gose, 31, former outfielder converted to reliever, promoted by Cleveland Indians
Formerly an outfielder in the big leagues, Anthony Gose, who played for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics, was called up from the minors by the Cleveland Indians on Monday, this time as a hard-throwing lefty reliever.
Struggling New York Yankees activate pitcher Luis Severino, send former All-Star to bullpen
Former All-Star pitcher Luis Severino was activated by the New York Yankees before Monday's series opener against the Texas Rangers and is in position to make his first major league appearance in nearly two years.