Walks kill. Sean Nolin had back-to-back, two-out walks come around to score on a triple by Kolten Wong in the fourth inning, which put the Milwaukee Brewers up 3-1 on Washington’s Nationals, and then reliever Gabe Klobosits hit a batter and issued two walks in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases before a throwing error on a ground ball allowed two runs in and put the home team up 5-1 in the series finale in American Family Field. Final Score: 7-3 Brewers.
Nolin vs the Brewers: Pitching in the majors for the first time since back in 2015, Sean Nolin gave up eight hits and four runs in three innings of work on the mound in Citi Field earlier this month, and the lefty talked afterwards about the long road back to the big leagues.
“Big league-wise it was almost six years,” he said. “I think the end of September of ‘15 was my last start. I definitely wasn’t as nervous this time, I feel like I had a lot of positive, good energy.”
“I thought he threw the ball fine. He talked a lot about his cutter not being as effective, it didn’t have that bite that he typically has, but I thought he held his own and he did well,” manager Davey Martinez said.
Start No. 2 for Nolin with the Nats began with a solo home run to right by Brewers’ leadoff man Kolten Wong, who got all of an 88 MPH 1-0 fastball inside and hit it out to lead off the bottom of the first, 1-0. Wong’s 10th. Willy Adames and Christian Yelich followed the blast with back-to-back singles, but a swinging K and a double play got the left-handed starter out of the inning after 22 pitches.
Nolin held the Brewers there through three, as the Nationals rallied to tie it at 1-1, but he came back out for the fourth and retired the first two batters he faced before giving up back-to-back, two-out walks and a two-run triple, with Kolten Wong driving in both Manny Piña and Jackie Bradley, Jr. after they took the second and third walks of the game from Nolin, 3-1.
Sean Nolin’s Line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 81 P, 45 S, 4/0 GO/FO.
Houser vs the Nationals: Adrian Houser took a no-hitter into the seventh inning last time out on the mound, walking five, with one run scoring, but no hits allowed in a 104-pitch outing.
“We had kind of lowered his pitch count, to 70 last time,” Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell explained as quoted by the Associated Press. “This is as high as he’s been all year, wasn’t going to finish the game.”
In 19 starts overall this season, heading into today’s, the 28-year-old right-hander had a 3.71 ERA, 45 walks, 72 Ks, and a .234/.328/.367 line against in 97 IP.
Houser tossed two scoreless innings on 30 pitches to start today’s game, but a leadoff HBP and two-out single (on Riley Adams and by Lane Thomas) put runners on the corners in the Nationals’ third, and a throw to second base on a steal attempt by Thomas bounced off his helmet and shot into the outfield, allowing Adams to score and tie things up after the home team jumped out to an early lead, 1-1.
Josh Bell and Yadiel Hernández hit back-to-back, one-out singles in the top of the fourth, and the Brewers went to the pen at that point, with Houser up to 68 pitches overall...
Adrian Houser’s Line: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 68 P, 42 S, 4/0 GO/FO.
Lane Again: With Victor Robles sick (though not COVID sick) according to his manager, new Nationals’ outfielder Lane Thomas got another start in center this afternoon, after starting in Saturday’s game as the center fielder as well.
In five games since he joined the team on August 15th, following some time in the minors at Triple-A after he was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals at the trade deadline, Thomas was 6 for 11 (.545 AVG) with a double, triple, two RBIs, four walks, and four runs scored as he started the day.
Thomas went 2 for 2 with a double and a walk in his first three plate appearances today.
Bullpen Action: Hunter Strickland inherited a first-and-third, one-out jam in the fourth, and struck out both Carter Kieboom and Riley Adams to strand the runners he inherited.
Brewers’ lefty Aaron Ashby took over in the top of the fifth, and gave up a leadoff single by Luis García and a one-out double by Lane Thomas (2 for 2, BB), but he got Alcides Escobar swinging with an 0-2 slider for out No. 2, and after a walk to Juan Soto, Josh Bell grounded into an inning-ending force at second base.
Ryne Harper was first out of the bullpen for the Nationals, and he got two quick outs before walking back-to-back batters, but he popped up Lorenzo Cain to keep it a 3-1 game.
Ashby retired the Nationals in order in his second inning of work in the sixth, striking out two.
Gabe Klobosits hit the first batter he faced in the Brewers’ half of the sixth, Manny Piña, then issued back-to-back, one-out walks to Kolten Wong and Willy Adames, loading the bases in front of Christian Yelich, who grounded into an out at first, but two runs scored when Josh Bell stepped on first and tried to throw home and sailed it, 5-1.
Brad Boxberger struck out two in a 1-2-3 top of the seventh.
Jefry Rodríguez walked the first batter he faced in the bottom of the seventh, and Lorenzo Cain followed with a 2-run HR to center that traveled 408 feet, 7-1.
Austin Voth got the bottom of the eight for the Nationals, in his return to the majors, and he gave up a leadoff single by Christian Yelich and a double to the wall in center field by Avisaíl Garcia in the first two at bats. The 11th walk of the game from Nats’ pitchers loaded them up for Luis Urías, who lined into a double play at third for the first two outs, and a groundout to third ended the threat.
Carter Kieboom homered to start the ninth, hitting a 414 ft blast to left-center off Brewers’ righty Hoby Milner, who was out for this second inning of work, 7-2. Kieboom’s 4th.
Riley Adams doubled to left in the next at bat, and scored on a two-out grounder to short by Lane Thomas, 7-3.
An Alcides Escobar single forced the Brewers to get Josh Hader out of the bullpen, against Juan Soto, and he got an out at second to end the game.
Final Score: 7-3 Brewers
Nationals now 53-70