- Mark Saxon, ESPN Staff Writer
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WASHINGTON -- A little black cloud has been following the Los Angeles Dodgers all around the country, drenching them with rain.
For the second time in three cities, the Dodgers got hit with a rain storm in the first game of a three-game series.
They waited out a 3-hour, 17-minute delay Monday night before losing 4-0 to the Washington Nationals.
How it happened: Zack Greinke gave up a first-inning home run and -- hours and hours later -- the Dodgers’ offense still couldn't score any runs. Jordan Zimmermann of the Nationals, like Greinke, was knocked out of the game by the lengthy delay. But the Washington bullpen picked up right where he left off.
Washington added a pair of extra runs in the eighth inning with another two-run shot, this one by Danny Espinosa off former third baseman Pedro Baez, who was making his major league pitching debut.
Hits: He may not have regained the trust of Dodgers fans, but Brandon League is inching closer to a more meaningful role in the bullpen. The veteran, who had his worst season after signing to be the Dodgers’ closer in 2013, hasn’t allowed a run in his past eight appearances. And he hasn’t allowed an earned run in 13 straight innings. He used a big double play to get out of a jam in the fifth and came out of the rain delay and gave the Dodgers two strong innings.
Misses: Catcher Miguel Olivo got back to the major leagues because Tim Federowicz was struggling mightily and Olivo was batting .390 at Triple-A. But he’ll have a hard time sticking when A.J. Ellis comes back (maybe as early as next week) if he looks like he did Monday. Olivo struck out in his first three plate appearances, stranding runners in scoring position twice.
Stat of the game: Greinke’s streak of 18 straight starts during which he pitched at least five innings and allowed two runs or fewer ended due to the rain delay. Greinke gave up a two-run home run to Anthony Rendon in the first inning and didn’t return after the lengthy rain delay in the fourth inning.
Up next: Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will make his first start since Opening Day in Australia. Kershaw will have missed 31 games (about six starts) with a strained teres major muscle in his upper left back. The Dodgers still don’t know who they’ll face, as the Nationals haven’t announced their starter; he will come either from the minor leagues or their bullpen.
2dBrian Heyman, Special to ESPN.com