Adam Eaton’s three-run home run in the second gave the Washington Nationals a 4-0 lead, but the Milwaukee Brewers scored three on three hits off Jeremy Hellickson in the fifth and tied it up on an RBI single by Lorenzo Cain off of Brandon Kintzler in the seventh.
It was still tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the tenth when Tyler Saladino hit a bases-loaded sac fly to left to give the Brew Crew a walk-off win and their second straight decision over the Nats, 5-4 final.
Hellickson vs the Brewers: In 11 innings pitched over his final two starts of the first-half, Jeremy Hellickson held opposing hitters to one run on four hits in back-to-back wins in which he earned his third and fourth Ws in 13 outings as part of the Nationals’ rotation.
Hellickson, 31, signed a minor league deal with Washington this Spring, after a rough 2017 campaign, and he told reporters after his final start before the Break that he was happy to contribute to the Nationals’ cause after they showed faith in him.
“It was a matter of finding the team to take a chance on me that believed in me,” he said, “and I guess they believed in me, so it’s nice to come out and pitch well this first half.”
His second half of the 2018 season began with two scoreless on 25 pitches in Milwaukee as the Nationals jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but a leadoff double by the opposing pitcher, Junior Guerra, and a one-out infield single by Lorenzo Cain set the Brewers up with runners on the corners. A hit-by-pitch on Christian Yelich loaded the bases in front of Jesus Aguilar, but a pop to second got Hellickson the second out, and a one-hopper to first off Travis Shaw’s bat ended the threat in the third.
Three hits and three runs in the fifth made it a one-run game, however, with Guerra hitting his second double, moving up on a passed ball, and scoring on a groundout, 4-1, before a single by Cain and two-run home run by Yelich made it 4-3. No. 13 for Yelich.
Jeremy Hellickson’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 79 P, 55 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
Guerra vs the Nationals: Junior Guerra, 33, wrapped up the first half of the 2018 campaign with a rough outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he gave up nine hits, two walks, and six earned runs in just four innings. That start bumped him up from a 2.79 ERA to 3.23 going into the All-Star Break.
Before that outing, the right-hander was unbeaten over a four-start stretch in which he put up a 2.45 ERA and a .233/.327/.384 line against in 22 innings.
The Nationals jumped out to a 1-0 lead for the second straight night, with Ryan Zimmerman connecting on a 3-2 slider from Guerra that he lined to center for a two-out RBI double that made it 1-0 in the first.
Michael A. Taylor reached on an error by Guerra on a bunt, and Spencer Kieboom walked, and both runners came in the easy way when Adam Eaton hit an 0-1 fastball out to center field in Miller Park for a two-out, three-run home run that made it 4-0.
Guerra doubled for the second time in the fifth, and scored the Brewers’ first run in a three-run inning that made it a one-run game, then he threw a quick, nine-pitch top of the sixth before he was done for the night.
Junior Guerra’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 80 P, 54 S, 8/2 GO/FO.
Mighty Mighty: Adam Eaton had hits in six of his last nine before tonight, going 14 for 35 (.400 AVG), with two doubles, three RBIs, two walks, two stolen bases, and five runs scored over that stretch, and he’d reached base in 15 of 17 games, going 23 for 65 (.354 AVG) in those last 17. He made it hits in seven of ten games, and reaching base in 16 of 18 when he hit a three-run home run to center field in the second, connecting for a two-out blast that gave the Nationals a 4-0 lead.
Rendon at 12: An infield single into the shift in the seventh extended Anthony Rendon’s hit streak to 12-straight games after he’d gone 0 for 3 up to that point. The hit left him 1 for 4 on the night, and 16 for 48 over the course of the 12-game streak.
BULLPEN ACTION: Justin Miller took over on the mound for the Nationals after Hellickson gave up three hits and three runs in the fifth, and retired the Brewers in order in a 15-pitch frame.
Jeremy Jeffress tossed a scoreless seventh to keep it a one-run game, stranding two after back-to-back hits by Eaton and Rendon by striking Juan Soto out with a 3-2 curve after an epic-ish (but only six-pitch) battle.
Brandon Kintzler gave up a leadoff double by Ryan Braun on a first-pitch slider that hung up in the zone, and Lorenzo Cain tied it up with an RBI chopper that got by first base, 4-4 in the seventh in Milwaukee.
Corbin Burnes retired the Nationals in order in the top of the eighth. Ryan Madson got the ball in the bottom of the inning, and walked Travis Shaw after starting up 0-2, but erased the walk on a 5-4-3 DP in the next AB and got the third out of the inning with help from his center fielder, Michael A. Taylor, who nailed Brad Miller at second when Miller tried to take an extra base on a two-out single. Still 4-4.
Spencer Kieboom singled off Corey Kneble with one out in the top of the ninth inning, but was forced out at second on a Matt Adams’ grounder, and Adam Eaton grounded back to the mound.
Kelvin Herrera got the bottom of the ninth for the Nationals, and retired the side in order.
On to extras.
Brewers’ righty Taylor Williams gave up a two-out single to center by Ryan Zimmerman, so Craig Counsell went to the pen for lefty Dan Jennings vs Daniel Murphy. Trea Turner came on to run for Zimmerman at first, and got picked off trying to swipe second.
Lorenzo Cain singled to center off Matt Grace to start the Brewers’ tenth, taking 1-1 sinker back up the middle. He went around to third on a single to left by Christian Yelich, and the Nationals walked Jesus Aguilar intentionally to load them up and set up a five-man infield, but Grace got Travis Shaw swinging with an 0-2 slider for the first out. Tyler Saladino got the next shot at a walk-off winner, and hit a sac fly to left-center that got the job done.
Final Score: 5-4 Brewers
Nationals now 49-51