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Brewers take advantage of Nationals mistakes, win 5-3

MLB: Washington Nationals at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

WP: Alex Claudio (1-1)
LP: Dan Jennings (0-2)
SV: Junior Guerra (2)

HR: Howie Kendrick (5), Adam Eaton (3)

Box Score

Follow the sweep against the Mets, the Nationals were in town with two top sellers lined up to start. The Brewers got through the first of them tonight with some help from the Nationals.

It didn’t look good to start. In the top of the first, Adam Eaton led off the game with a single off of Jhoulys Chacin, and Victor Robles bunted Eaton over to second. Howie Kendrick followed and hit a two-run home run to left field, giving the Nationals an early 2-0 lead. After that, Yan Gomes was hit by a pitch in the arm, remained in the game but eventually left in the third inning due to it. Chacin stopped the damage there with a flyout and a lineout to end the top of the first down 2-0.

The Brewers responded right away. In the bottom of the first, Ben Gamel hit a leadoff double to give the Brewers a runner in scoring position to start the inning. Christian Yelich struck out, and Yasmani Grandal grounded out to move Gamel to third. Mike Moustakas then made sure the runner wasn’t wasted, hitting a single that was deflected by shortstop Carter Kieboom to drive in Gamel and make it a 2-1 game.

In the bottom of the second, Jesus Aguilar made it two straight innings with a leadoff runner as he singled to start the inning. After Eric Thames struck out, Orlando Arcia hit a double to deep center field, but wasn’t quite enough to score Aguilar, who could only get to third. After Chacin struck out, Ben Gamel hit a ball to shortstop Kieboom that he couldn’t field cleanly, and Gamel reached first as Aguilar scored, tying the game at 2-2.

After that, the pitching settled in for a while. The Nationals loaded the bases in the third with a single and two walks, but Chacin worked out of it to keep the game tied at 2-2. Meanwhile, the Brewers only managed two hits in the next four innings off of Nationals starter Max Scherzer, though the did load the bases in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a walk and catcher interference. In total, each starter only allowed those two runs, with Chacin pitching five innings and Scherzer pitching six. Chacin allowed three hits and two walks with three strikeouts, and Scherzer struck out ten, but allowed six hits and a walk as well.

The game went to the bullpens after that. Corbin Burnes took the sixth for the Brewers and worked around an error and a single to keep the game tied, also posting two strikeouts in the inning. Alex Claudio took the seventh, but Adam Eaton hit a home run off him to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead. Claudio struck out two to finish the inning. Former Brewer Dan Jennings came in for the Nationals in the bottom of the seventh inning. Gamel led off with a single, then a wild pitch put him at second. Yelich moved him to third with a single, and Grandal singled to right to tie the game at 3-3. Moustakas followed with a ball that was fair right in front of the plate and Kurt Suzuki tried to field it, but kicked the ball and the bases were loaded. Shaw struck out next, then Jesus Aguilar hit a sacrifice fly deep to right, scoring Yelich and giving the Brewers a 4-3 lead.

The Brewers weren’t done yet, as Arcia led off the bottom of the eighth with a double for his third hit of the night. Gamel then singled to right to drive in Arcia, increasing the Brewers lead to 5-3. Two walks by Tony Sipp loaded the bases, but a pop out from Moustakas and a groundout from Shaw ended the inning.

Jeremy Jeffress took the eighth inning, pitched a clean inning with a strikeout. Junior Guerra got the ninth after Josh Hader pitched yesterday, and struck out two batters in a clean inning to end the game and record his second save.

Ben Gamel and Orlando Arcia led the offense tonight, each recording three hits in the game. Every other starter except for Thames and Chacin also had a hit. Overall, it was a balanced effort by the offense, with four different players driving in a run. Meanwhile, the Brewers were also aided by four errors by the Nationals, which helped them in the game tonight. On a more negative note, the Brewers were 4-for-17 with runners in scoring position tonight, but that didn’t end up hurting the Brewers tonight.

The Brewers have another big challenge to face tomorrow as Stephen Strasburg starts for the Nationals. Meanwhile, the Brewers have not announced a starter yet. It would be Freddy Peralta’s day to pitch, and he may still pitch tomorrow, but the Brewers are considering using an opener in tomorrow’s game.