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Washington Nationals drop 1-0 decision to Milwaukee Brewers: No fireworks for Nats on 4th of July in D.C.

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Max Scherzer gave up his major-league leading 21st home run of the year and it was all the Milwaukee Brewers needed as Junior Guerra dominated the Nats in what ended up a 1-0 win over the Washington Nationals on the 4th of July in D.C.

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Milwaukee's Brewers handed Max Scherzer his only loss in June, connecting for five hits and five runs in six innings of work on the mound for the Washington Nationals' starter in Miller Park.

Early this morning/afternoon in the nation's capital, Scherzer faced the Brewers again, having thrown 7 ⅓ scoreless again the New York Mets in his one start between outings against the struggling NL Central club, who arrived in D.C. last night around midnight, in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

Scherzer gave up just four hits total in six innings of work this afternoon, but one of the four was a home run by Brewers' catcher Martin Maldonado, who hit a no-doubter out to left in the fifth to put the Brewers up 1-0.

It was Scherzer's major league-leading (among starters) 21st home run allowed on the year and it held up in what ended up 1-0 win for Milwaukee.

Here's how it happened:

The early start time this morning (or a simple transcription error) led to an odd situation when Ryan Braun singled off Scherzer with two down in the first but was called out because he batted out of order, hitting third instead of fourth according to what was written on the official lineup card the Brewers handed in to umpires before the beginning of the game.

It's apparently ruled an unassisted groundout to the catcher when that happens, and Jonathan Lucroy, who was third on the lineup card was stuck with an 0 for 1 and a long wait before his "second" official at bat of the game.

Both sides were scoreless through four, but Brewers' backstop Martin Maldonado got the visitors on the board first with a leadoff home run to left on a 2-1 fastball up in the zone from Scherzer that cleared the visitor's bullpen in left field for a 1-0 Milwaukee lead. Scherzer's 21st home run allowed. Maldonado's 3rd of 2016.

Brewers' starter Junior Guerra held the Nationals to one hit through five scoreless on a relatively efficient 68 pitches.

Scherzer was up to 113 pitches when he issued a base-loading, two-out walk to Maldonado in the Brewers' half of the sixth, but a fly to right on pitch No. 114 left'em loaded and ended Scherzer's start.

Max Scherzer's Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 114 P, 73 S, 6/2 GO/FO.

Guerra was up to twelve-straight set down going back to Danny Espinosa's two-out single in the bottom of the second before Jayson Werth singled to left field with two down and took second on the first error of the season by Ryan Braun.

Bryce Harper stepped in next and walked to bring Wilson Ramos up with two on. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, but Ramos chased a 2-2 splitter into the dirt for out No.3.

An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh left Guerra at 103 pitches total on the day.

A long fly ball to right by Stephen Drew in the eighth didn't make it out, but it ended Guerra's outing after 7 ⅓ IP in which he gave up just the two hits and two walks, striking out seven on 109 pitches.

Will Smith came on to get the last two outs with an assist from a sliding Jonathan Villar who made a great catch at the line in left on a two-out pop by Ben Revere that was looking for open grass.

Junior Guerra's Line: 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 109 P, 60, 10/4 GO/FO.

Jonathan Papelbon worked a scoreless ninth in his return from the DL, but Brewers' closer Jeremy Jeffress completed the shutout with a scoreless ninth of his own, 1-0 final. 22nd save for Jeffress.

Nationals now 50-34

NATS NOTES:

  • Milwaukee dropped the first three games of their current six-game road trip (and four overall before today), leaving them 13-26 on the road this season.
  • The Brewers have won just one series on the road heading into this week's three-game set in D.C.
  • Washington and Milwaukee started the 2016 campaign 38-38 against one another since 2005, but the Brewers took 2 of 3 in Miller Park last month.
  • The Nationals are 23-15 against the Brewers in Nationals Park.
  • Washington's 50-33 record after yesterday's win is the NL's third-best, behind only the San Francisco Giants (52-32) and the Chicago Cubs (51-30).
  • On May 3rd, today's starter for Milwaukee, Junior Guerra, 31, became the only pitcher in Brewers' franchise history to win his first major league game.
  • Brewers' infielder Jonathan Villar has reached base in 68 of 78 games played this season (78%) which is the seventh best (by percentage) in the NL.
  • Milwaukee is 16 for 30 all-time on the 4th of July, and today's game is their second in the nation's capital on July 4th.
  • Washington is 7-4 overall on the 4th, and 7-3 in D.C. on the holiday in their history (2005-present)
  • Scooter Gennett was named the Brewers' Player of the Month for June, after putting up a .322/.390/.478 line on the month.
  • Danny Espinosa hit his 17th and 18th HRs on Sunday, the first his second grand slam of the homestand in the Nats' win over the Reds.
  • Max Scherzer started the day with a 2.89 ERA in five games and four starts against the Brewers in his career.

Nationals now 50-34