WP: Ryan Madson (5-4) (I KNEW the Brewers should have picked up Madson); LP: Josh Hader (1-2); Save: Sean Doolittle (17), Home runs: Michael Taylor (13)
The Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen couldn’t hold this one, and the bats couldn’t rescue the bullpen, so tonight the Brewers fell 3-2 to the Nationals. In the process they wasted Brandon Woodruff’s best start of his young career, and the most Cardinal-esque go-ahead run you’ll ever see.
Woodruff worked seven innings and was only threatened one time. His lone walk, leading off the fourth, came around to score when the Nats followed with two singles. And those were the only two hits Brandon allowed, along with a hit batter. That fourth inning could have been worse but Daniel Murphy’s base hit to center with Howie Kendrick on second turned into an out. Kendrick held on the liner and jogged into third. Jonathan Villar, making his second straight start in center, lollygagged his throw in and Murphy took off for second with nobody covering there. But he was out by a mile, despite his ninja kick to shortstop Eric Sogard’s head.
Milwaukee tied it up immediately in the bottom of the inning. Washington starter Max Scherzer had retired the first nine in order, but a liner off of the back of his back leg seemed to cause increasing discomfort as the game progressed. Sogard got the Brewers’ first hit on a single to center and came around to score on a double down the rightfield line from Eric Thames.
Scherzer worked around a walk to Neil Walker one out later to escape the inning with a 1-1 tie. He would work the fifth, but only struck out two on the night and left after that inning.
The Brewers’ magic run came in the bottom of the sixth, off of Oliver Perez. The lefty walked two of the first three he faced, but unfortunately they bracketed a double play ball from Shaw. But with Walker on first and two down Stephen Vogt chopped one just over a leaping Ryan Zimmerman at first (Zimmerman was in holding the runner), and then Daniel Murphy tried to run it down, only to tip the ball and have it roll even more slowly down the right field line. Jason Werth bobbled it down the line and Murphy came all the way around for a 2-1 lead. Villar followed with a nubbed infield hit to put runners on the corners, but Hernan Perez struck out to end the sixth.
Vogt’s hit was the last the Brewers’ would garner until their were two down in the bottom of the ninth.
Woodruff was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh, ending his day with two hits allowed in seven innings, the one run, one HBP, and eight strikeouts. He looked much more poised and in control of his stuff than in his three previous starts.
Alas, it was not to be. Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor pulled Josh Hader’s first pitch of the top of then eighth well into the seats in left, and a single, popped up bunt, and RBI double from Trey Turner gave the Washington Baseball Club the lead with just one down. It wasn’t Hader’s night; his velocity was down, and the Nationals were hitting him hard (except for the popped up sac bunt attempt). Jacob Barnes got the last two out in the eighth, and the Brewers had two more cracks at it.
A one two three eighth was followed by a one two ninth before Perez lined a single between third and short. Pinch hitters Ryan Braun (pop out to first) and Jesus Aguilar made those two outs. Manny Pina pinch hit for Maverick Phillips and gave us, the team, and the bench a glimmer of hope with a deep drive to center that Taylor pulled in at the wall, ending the game.
The loss drops the Milwaukee Nine 41⁄2 back of the Cubs, 12-10 winners over Atlanta today. Arizona beat the Rockies 4-2; the Brewers remain 11⁄2 back of Colorado in the race for the final wild card spot.
The finale of the four game set comes tomorrow with Washington playing their last game at Miller Park this year...unless...
Washington (82-53) sends out veteran Edwin Jackson (5-3, 3,33 ERA...really?) to face lefty Brent Suter (2-2, 3.79).