Half an inning after Adam Eaton hit the second home run of the night for the Washington Nationals, an ugly bottom of the seventh inning in the field cost the visitors a 3-2 lead, as Milwaukee scored two in what ended up a 5-3 win for the Brewers in the series opener in Miller Park.
Scherzer vs the Brewers: With just one win in seven starts this season, and the Nationals 1-6 with their ace on the mound, things haven’t gone well for the 34-year-old right-hander early in his fifth season in the nation’s capital.
Scherzer took the mound tonight in the first of three in Milwaukee with a 4.08 ERA, 2.16 FIP, seven walks, and an NL-best 62 Ks in 46 1⁄3 IP on the year, and a 2-0 lead, courtesy of Howie Kendrick’s first-inning blast.
It was a 2-1 lead after a two-out liner (with a runner on third) by Mike Moustakas clipped the top of a leaping Carter Kieboom’s glove, but made its way into center field for an RBI single.
A leadoff single and one-out double put runners on second and third in the Brewers’ half of the second inning, but Scherzer got a hard-hit grounder to short for what should have been out No. 3 had Kieboom not booted the one-hopper, throwing late to first after recovering it as a run scored, 2-2.
Scherzer held the Brewers to two runs through five, picking up two Ks in a 16-pitch fifth for a total of nine strikeouts from 21 batters on 89 pitches overall.
A single to right by Travis Shaw, a catcher’s interference call on Kurt Suzuki on a pitch inside to Jesús Aguilar, and a walk to Eric Thames loaded the bases and pushed Scherzer up to 105 pitches in the Brewers’ sixth, but he threw a fastball by Orlando Arcia for out No. 2 (and his 10th K), and got an inning-ending groundout from Ryan Braun to end a 23-pitch frame at 112 pitches total.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 112 P, 70 S, 6/0 GO/FO.
Chacín vs the Nationals: Jhoulys Chacín snapped a four-start winless streak and a streak of three consecutive losses with a strong outing against Colorado last time out before tonight, holding Rockies’ hitter to two hits and three walks in six scoreless innings in what ended up a 4-3 win for Milwaukee.
The Brewers’ right-hander finished that outing with a 5.24 ERA, a 5.84 FIP, 18 walks, and 26 Ks, in seven starts and 34 1⁄3 IP on the season. Chacín’s ERA was up to 5.71 after he grooved a 2-2 slider to Howie Kendrick with one on and one out in the top of the first tonight.
Kendrick lined it out to left for a two-run blast and a 2-0 Nationals’ lead.
That was all Chacín gave up through five, as he settled in, and after a 34-pitch third, and threw two quick innings that pushed him up to 98 total after five and ended his night...
Jhoulys Chacín’s Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 98 P, 61 S, 6/2 GO/FO.
The Fast and the Furious (2001) pic.twitter.com/uheJOgxZRI— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) May 6, 2019
How You Doin’?: Howie Kendrick had hits in eight of nine games going into tonight’s series opener with the Brewers, going 11 for 33 (.333 AVG) with a home run, two walks, and three runs scored and three multi-hit games over that stretch, and the Nationals’ 35-year-old, 14-year veteran started the night with a .338/.400/.559 line, three doubles, four homers, eight walks, and 10 Ks in 25 games and 80 PAs early this season.
Kendrick made it hits in nine of 10 with a two-run home run off Jhoulys Chacín in the top of the first inning tonight, connecting for his 5th HR of the 2019 campaign to get the seriously beleaguered Nationals out to an early lead... though it didn’t last.
BULLPEN ACTION: Corbin Burnes took over for the Brewers in the top of the sixth, and set the Nationals down in order in an 18-pitch frame.
Left-hander Alex Claudio came on for Milwaukee in the top of the seventh, and gave up a one-out solo shot to right on an 0-1 slider to Adam Eaton that the diminutive outfielder hit out on a line to make it 3-2 Washington.
Mighty Mouse says "See you later!" pic.twitter.com/ZNAQl2dXm6— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) May 7, 2019
Dan Jennings took over for the Nationals in the bottom of the seventh, and got a grounder to second from Ben Gamel, on which Brian Dozier threw wide of first on what would have been a close play, and after a wild pitch moved Gamel up a bag, Wilmer Difo bounced a throw to first on a check-swing grounder by Christian Yelich, E:5, to set Yasmani Grandal up with an RBI opportunity he cashed in with a run-scoring single, 3-3.
Kurt Suzuki booted a swinging bunt by Mike Moustakas in the next at bat, as the Brewers loaded the bases, and Jennings got an out before the Nationals went to the pen again...
Wander Suero came on with the bases loaded and one out, and gave up a sac fly to right by Jesús Aguilar, 4-3 Brewers.
Jeremy Jeffress retired the Nats in order in the eighth after his team took the lead.
Suero returned for the bottom of the eighth inning and gave up a leadoff double before he got an out and was lifted.
Tony Sipp came on to face Ben Gamel, lefty vs lefty, and gave up an RBI single, 5-3 Brewers.
Junior Guerra came on for the save opportunity in the ninth and retired the Nats in order to end it, 5-3 Brewers final.
Nationals now 14-20