Last weekend, the Brewers won a series against the best team in the National League, taking 2 of 3 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They looked to do something similar against the second-best team in the league -- the Washington Nationals -- and did just that, using an offensive outburst led by Domingo Santana and lights-out pitching from the bullpen to beat the Nationals, 7-2.
Brent Suter started what the Brewers basically admitted ahead of time would be a bullpen game, taking Matt Garza's spot in the rotation. Suter allowed a pair of baserunners in the first inning, but was able to get a groundball with runners at the corners and two outs to end the threat without allowing a run to score.
Domingo Santana got the scoring started for the Brewers in the bottom of the second, crushing a solo home run off the scoreboard against Edwin Jackson for his 23rd home run of the year.
Trea Turner responded the next half inning by hitting a one-out double off the base of the wall, but Ryan Braun was able to track down the ball before the speedy Turner could turn it into a triple. Suter was able to work around it, though, getting the next two outs on a soft liner to second and a ball chopped right in front of the plate, making it three scoreless innings.
Jackson was able to keep the Brewers mostly at bay the first time through the order, but Neil Walker led off the bottom of the 4th inning with a double into the gap and Braun followed with another double into the right field corner to bring Walker home and give the Brewers a 2-0 lead. Santana followed with another home run, this time depositing it into the bullpen for a 4-0 lead. It's the 9th home run Domingo has hit on Domingo this year, tied for the league lead for most homers hit on Sundays.
The offense wouldn’t stop there. Walker again led off with a double in the 6th inning and eventually moved over to third on a passed ball. A sacrifice fly from Travis Shaw drove in Walker and increased the Brewers' lead to 5-0.
As the Brewers' bullpen continued to cruise along, the offense would load the bases in the bottom of the 8th inning and scored another run when Raudy Read, making his MLB debut the previous inning as a pinch-hitter, whiffed on catching a pitch, allowing the ball to hit the umpire and roll to the backstop. Manny Pina followed with a sac fly to push the Brewers lead to 7-0.
Jeremy Jeffress, Jacob Barnes and Anthony Swarzak combined for 5 shutout innings in relief of Suter before Junior Guerra made his return to pitch the 9th inning.
In Guerra's first-ever relief appearance as a Brewer, he got Turner and Wilmer Difo to strike out before walking Daniel Murphy and surrendering a two-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman. Guerra was able to bounce back by getting Rendon to fly out to clinch the series win.
The Brewers head to Cincinnati for an early Labor Day start tomorrow afternoon.