Milwaukee Brewers’ righty Jhoulys Chacin held the Washington Nationals to one run on two hits over 5 2⁄3 innings pitched in Miller Park, striking out a season-high nine batters, and the home team cruised to a 6-1 victory in the series opener in Wisconsin.
Nats’ lefty Gio Gonzalez gave up six hits, five walks, and five earned runs in a losing effort, and the Nationals fell back below .500 with their sixth loss in the last ten games.
Daniel Murphy homered for the only run the Nationals scored, connecting for his second of the season in the second inning.
Gio vs ATL: Gio Gonzalez was in the midst of an eight-outing winless streak when he took the mound tonight in Miller Park, over which he was (0-4), with a 6.51 ERA, 20 walks, 31 Ks, and a .304/.385/.507 line against in 37 1⁄3 IP.
Gonzalez wrapped up the first half with a solid start against the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park, however, impressing his catcher with his work on the mound in what ended up a 2-0 loss.
“He was able to locate when he needed to,” veteran catcher Matt Wieters told reporters after working with the lefty for the first time since he came off the DL earlier this month.
“It’s big for him to get aggressive and get them swinging. He did that today. He made pitches when he had to.”
Gonzalez worked around two walks in a scoreless first against the Brewers tonight, and took the mound in the second with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of a Daniel Murphy homer, but a leadoff single by Travis Shaw and a double to left field (and off the wall) by Tyler Saladino set the Brew Crew up with two runners in scoring position, one of which they cashed in on a one-out sac fly to left by Erik Kratz that tied it up at 1-1 after two.
A leadoff walk in the fourth put the leadoff runner on for the fourth straight inning (second time via walk) and another free pass in the next at bat (Gonzalez’s 4th of the night) put the left-hander in a tough spot. A single by Hernan Perez loaded the bases with no one out before Kratz drove in a run with a groundout to short, on which Trea Turner made a pretty slick diving play and strong throw from a knee, 2-1.
Jhoulys Chacin snuck a single through short in the next at bat to make it 3-1 after four. Gonzalez’s 27-pitch frame left him at 81 for the game.
A two-out walk (his 5th) and single on his 107th pitch put two on in the Brewers’ sixth and ended Gonzalez’s outing.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 5 Ks, 107 P, 64 S, 8/1 GO/FO.
Chacin vs D.C.: Veteran starter Jhoulys Chacin took the mound tonight unbeaten in his last four starts with a 3.13 ERA, seven walks, 17 Ks, and a .185/.269/.272 line against in 23 IP over that stretch.
On the season, the 30-year-old right-hander, who signed a two-year/$15.5M free agent deal with Milwaukee this winter, was (8-3) with a 3.68 ERA, 47 walks (3.68 BB/9), 88 Ks (6.89 K/9) and a .226/.315/.353 line against in 115 IP.
Chacin tossed a scoreless first, stranding two runners who reached, but his second pitch of the second ended up in the right field seats.
Daniel Murphy crushed the 0-1 splitter from the Brewers’ right-hander, and sent his second home run of the season out of the field of play to make it 1-0 Nationals.
Over the infield, over the wall. pic.twitter.com/v70AKDF4ur— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 24, 2018
Chacin held the Nationals there through five, striking out nine batters (a season-high, and his most in a game since 2016) when he got Anthony Rendon swinging for the first out of the sixth, but a two-out hit-by-pitch on Ryan Zimmerman’s hip sent Brewers’ skipper Craig Counsell to the mound to make a change...
Jhoulys Chacin’s Line: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 Ks, 1 HR, 100 P, 65 S, 8/1 GO/FO.
FWAHHH!!: Daniel Murphy is heating up, going 12 for 26 (.462 AVG) over his previous nine games before the series opener in Milwaukee tonight, with two doubles and four walks over that stretch, and he’d hit safely in 14 of his last 21 games with a .333/.387/.424 line since June 22nd. He made it 15 of 22 games with a hit when he homered off the Brewers’ starter, Jhoulys Chacin, in the first at bat of the second inning, putting the Nationals ahead early, though the lead was gone by the bottom of the inning...
BULLPEN ACTION: Brewers’ left-hander Josh Hader took over with a runner on and two out in the Nationals’ half of the sixth. Juan Soto (who had a .380 AVG vs lefties when he stepped in), worked the count full, and sent a chopper back toward the mound the pitcher could not handle.
Daniel Murphy stepped in next, and went down swinging at a 1-2 slider outside.
Justin Miller took over for the Nationals with two on and two out in the Brewers’ sixth and went to a full count with pinch hitter Brett Phillips and walked him to load the bases.
With Christian Yelich due up, Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez went to Sammy Solis for a lefty vs lefty matchup, and Solis went to a full count and gave up a grounder toward first base that skipped right by Ryan Zimmerman for a base-clearing triple, 6-1 Brewers.
Brandon Woodruff worked around a one-out single in a 15-pitch seventh.
Shawn Kelley needed just 11 pitches to retire the side in order in the Brewers’ half of the seventh inning.
Anthony Rendon singled and Bryce Harper walked (for the 80th time this season) in the first two at bats of the eighth inning, but Ryan Zimmerman grounded back to the mound to start a 1-4-3 double play.
Counsell went to a lefty with a runner on third and Juan Soto due up, and that left-hander, Dan Jennings, struck Soto out with a 1-2 slider.
Brandon Kintzler retired the Brewers in order in an 14-pitch eighth, but Brewers’ righty Jacob Barnes tossed a scoreless top of the ninth to end it.
Final Score: 6-1 Brewers
Nationals now 49-50