Brewers fall to Nationals 7-4
WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper hit the first of Washington’s three home runs, and the Nationals returned to form in a 7-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.
Jose Lobaton and Ryan Zimmerman also connected for the Nationals, who averted a three-game sweep.
After watching Washington score a combined two runs in the first two games of the series, manager Dusty Baker said before the finale, “We’re operating at a low energy level right now.”
Harper remedied that with a three-run shot in the first inning, the Nationals’ first long ball in three games. Lobaton made it 4-0 in the second and Zimmerman chased Brewers starter Matt Garza (1-2) with a two-run drive in the fifth for a 7-4 lead.
Tanner Roark (8-5) allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings for the Nationals. The right-hander also beat the Brewers on June 26 to help Washington dodge a three-game sweep.
Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.
The NL East-leading Nationals open a four-game series Thursday night at the second-place New York Mets before heading into the All-Star break.
Scooter Gennett had two RBIs and stole home for the Brewers. Despite the loss, Milwaukee finished 4-2 against the Nationals to win the season series for the first since 2010.
Garza gave up seven runs, eight hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings. He is 1-5 with a 7.69 ERA in 10 starts against Washington.
The right-hander ran into difficulty almost immediately, giving up singles to Ben Revere and Jayson Werth before Harper hit his 18th home run, an opposite-field poke to left.
After retiring the first six batters, Roark gave up five singles in the third. Milwaukee drew even when Gennett scored on the front end of a double steal.
Stephen Drew hit a two-out RBI double in the bottom half for a 5-4 lead.
WIN AND OUT
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies, who started and won Tuesday’s game, was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. 1B Andy Wilkins was recalled from the same minor league club.
Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (right shoulder inflammation) has been inactive since being placed on the DL on Sunday. “He’s shut down right now. We’re trying to get the inflammation out of there,” Baker said.
Brewers: After taking Thursday off, the Brewers welcome St. Louis for a three-game series leading up to the All-Star break.
Nationals: Eager to put some distance between themselves and the Mets, the Nationals send rookie Lucas Giolito to the mound in the series opener Thursday night.