By Ron Kaplan, contributor

Joc Pederson, batting leadoff and playing left field, was 2-for-5 with a triple (#3) and a run scored as the LA Dodgers took the first game of a doubleheader against the host Washington Nationals on Saturday, 4-1. He also threw out a runner at second base, his second outfield assistant in four days. Pederson had the same role in the nightcap (necessitated by a rainout the day before), doubling (#5) in three at-bats plus a walk and another run scored in a 5-4 win. He came out of the game in the ninth for pinch-hitter Matt Kemp, who doubled in the winning runs. On Sunday, Pederson entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth. He doubled (#6) in his only at-bat, driving in a run and later coming around to score as the Dodgers (20-26, fifth in NL West) swept the Nats with a 7-2 win.

After sitting out Friday’s 8-3 loss by the LA Angels to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, Ian Kinsler had a double (#6) in three at-bats with a run scored in a 5-3 loss. He returned to the lead-off spot on Sunday, going 0-for-4 with a walk and his fifth stolen base as the Angels (25-21, third in the AL West) salvaged the last game with a 5-2 win.

Kevin Pillar was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Friday as the Toronto Blue Jays lost 3-1 to the visiting Oakland A’s. The next day, he was 0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI in a 5-4 loss. In Sunday’s finale, Pillar was 0-for-2, coming out of the game for a defensive replacement in the eighth as the A’s completed a sweep of the Jays (22-25, fifth in AL East).

Alex Bregman was 1-for-4 as the Houston Astros beat the visiting Cleveland Indians, 4-1, on Friday, making this nifty play for the first out of the game.  He hit his fourth homer in a 5-4 loss the next day, his only hit in four at-bats. Bregman was 2-for-4 on Sunday in a 3-1 Astros win (30-18, first in the AL West).

Danny Valencia was 1-for-3 with a run scored on Friday as the Baltimore Orioles (14-32, last in the AL East) beat the host Boston Red Sox, 7-4. He sat out Saturday’s 6-3 loss and was 1-for-4 in Sunday’s 5-0 loss. Richard Bleier earned a hold on Friday, although he did allow an inherited runner to score, giving up two hits in 2/3 of an inning. It was his only appearance in the three games.

Ryan Braun remains on the disabled list for the Milwaukee Brewers (28-19), who took two of three from the host Minnesota Twins.

Gabe Kapler’s Philadelphia Phillies (26-18, second in NL East) dropped two of three to the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. The team’s recent success has changed some minds about Kap.

Just sayin’: The NY Mets are hurting for outfielders, so much so that they’re experimenting with Dominic Smith, playing him in the pasture when he’s always been a first baseman. Why not give Zach Borenstein — a member of the Israeli team at the World Baseball Classic — a chance?

Ron Kaplan (@RonKaplanNJ) hosts Kaplan’s Korner, a blog about Jews and sports. He is the author of three books, including The Jewish Olympics: The History of the Maccabiah Games and Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War.

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