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Nationals swept at home with 9-2 loss to Dodgers

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July 21, 2013 07:19 PM EST | AP

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WASHINGTON — Jayson Werth cut off the first question he faced, a query about his frustration level.

"I'm not even going to entertain doom-and-gloom questions," Werth said. "I'm just not."

That won't stop the questions about the struggling Washington Nationals, who lost 9-2 to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday and have dropped eight of 10.

Washington (48-50) has fallen two games under .500, matching its previous low this season, and scored only 2.6 runs per game in its last 10.

Asked a more upbeat question, Werth said: "At any moment, this team could take off. But again, I'm not going to get into the doom-and-gloom stuff."

Manager Davey Johnson, arms crossed, fended off a question that didn't mention offense with an answer that declared the topic off limits.

"I don't want to keep talking about the offense," Johnson said. "That's all we seem to talk about."

The series sweep was a nadir for the Nationals, who have lost all semblance of the "Natitude" that produced the best record in the majors a year ago. After losing close games Friday and Saturday because of a collapse in clutch hitting – 2 for 21 with runners in scoring position – the Nationals on Sunday looked like a once-promising TV series that has finally jumped the shark.

They hit only six balls out of the infield in seven innings against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (9-6), including two mostly meaningless homers by Werth after the game was well out of reach.

"There's a good attitude," Johnson said. "I'm the one that's frustrated. I'm the one that has trouble sleeping."

Johnson experimented again with Bryce Harper batting leadoff; Harper went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Adam LaRoche returned after missing two games with the flu and went 0 for 3. Scott Hairston started in place of Denard Span and went 0 for 3.

In a seven-run second inning, Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann (12-5) allowed two loud hits by Matt Kemp, activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game. Kemp hit a home run that bounced among the cherry trees beyond the left-field stands and added a double later in the outburst.

Quickly, a much-anticipated matchup of All-Star aces turned into a rout.

Zimmermann lasted just two innings, the shortest outing of his career. He has been battling a sore neck, but Johnson said that wasn't the problem Sunday.

"That's the best he's felt in a long time," Johnson said.

NOTES: It was the first road sweep for Los Angeles against the Nationals franchise in the U.S. The Dodgers went to Canada to take three games from the Montreal Expos from May 24-26, 1996. ... Kershaw allowed two runs and two hits over seven innings with nine strikeouts and no walks, putting his major league-best ERA at 2.01.