Nick Johnson hit two home runs and Alfonso Soriano's bid to be an All-Star outfielder got another boost with his 18th homer. A five-run third inning blew the game open in Sunday's 10-4 victory, capping a 7-3 stand that proved a remarkable turnaround from the Nationals' previous 3-10 record at RFK Stadium.
"We're starting to play some good baseball," Washington manager Frank Robinson said. "It's good to start putting it together."
Ryan Zimmerman also homered, Marlon Anderson hit his first triple in three years, and Ramon Ortiz (3-4) won his third straight start, allowed three runs and four hits over seven innings.
"They're clicking along pretty good right now," said Los Angeles manager Grady Little, who had the hottest team in the National League before dropping a pair of 10-4 decisions in the nation's capital in three games. "They're swinging the bat, they're getting good plate appearances from each and every guy that goes up there, and that's why they're able to put together a streak like that."
Johnson was in an 0-for-16 slump until a few days ago, when he realized he was thinking too much and not bending his legs enough. He has since reached base in 12 of 18 plate appearances and hit solo homers in the sixth and eighth innings Sunday, his third multihomer game this season.
"I watch a lot of film," said Johnson, who has 12 homers this season. "I just get down on my legs a little more and stop thinking about the other stuff and have better at-bats."
Soriano walked and scored in the first and hit his 18th home run in the fourth. His 11 homers this month ties the franchise record for the month of May, and the four-time All-Star second baseman is now fielding questions about making it in the outfield, a position he is still learning.
"I have the numbers," said Soriano, who is batting .301. "But second base is not like outfield. At second base, not too many people have big numbers."
Pitching had been the Dodgers' strength during their recent hot streak, but the Nationals battered Brett Tomko on Friday and Jae Seo on Sunday into their shortest outings of the season. Seo (2-3) lasted 2 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and six runs, and Los Angeles' streak of six straight series wins came to an end.
"I tried to keep it low today, but then the control didn't work," said Seo, who threw 35 strikes and 24 balls. "I'm not a fastball pitcher, so every time I give up five or six runs my control has been a problem."
The big inning was the third. Zimmerman's eight home run was a three-run shot, and Anderson's triple was followed by Brian Schneider's sacrifice fly. Marlon Byrd doubled and scored on Mike Vento's first major league hit.
Because of injuries, the Dodgers fielded a starting lineup with four rookies: second baseman Willy Aybar, center fielder Matt Kemp, left fielder Andre Ethier and catcher Russell Martin. Kemp, making his major league debut after a call-up from Double-A, struck out three times before getting a single in his last at-bat.
Absent were J.D. Drew and Jeff Kent. Drew missed his second game with a sore shoulder, and Kent sat out with a sprained left wrist. Also, Kenny Lofton was given a day off from the starting lineup to rest his hamstrings, although he walked and scored as a pinch hitter in the eighth.
Ortiz (3-4), meanwhile, is back to form after going 0-4 over his first seven starts. A bloop double off left fielder Soriano's glove was the Dodgers' only hit until the sixth, when Olmedo Saenz capped a three-run inning with his fifth home run.
"This was a nice homestand," Robinson said. "But we still have to carry it over. We have to dig, dig to get ourselves out of the hole we're in. We're up to what? Nine games under? So have to continue to do it over and over. We're starting to win series now. If we continue to do that for the next month, we'll be in good shape."
Nationals reliever Jon Rauch hit two batters in the eighth, including one with the bases loaded. ... Soriano's 11 homers in May ties the team record set by Henry Rodriguez in 1996. ... Dodgers 1B Nomar Garciaparra got another hit with a man on second, raising his average with runners in scoring position to .447. ... Washington 2B Jose Vidro was given the day off. ... Nationals INF Matt LeCroy received a cortisone shot for his sore right elbow and is day to day.