It had to end sometime.
After a six-game winning streak that saw them average more then six runs a game, the Nationals and their offense ground to a screeching halt Friday night, falling to the Milwaukee Brewers and right-hander Mike Fiers, 6-0.
Fiers (4-4), who had allowed just four earned runs in his past seven starts, yielded only four hits over 6 1-3 innings, striking out nine, holding the Nats hitless through the fourth.
The Brewers, who had lost seven straight, jumped on Nats left-hander Ross Detwiler (5-4) for four runs and seven hits in just 4 2-3 innings, giving Fiers more than enough support.
The Brewers won it with a two-run fourth inning and a four-run fifth that featured home runs by Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez. All the damage came with two outs. Detwiler struck out the first two batters he faced in the fourth, but then Ramirez doubled as Bryce Harper failed on a diving catch attempt in right field. Hart followed with his 18th homer of the season.
In the fifth, Norichika Aoki doubled, stole second and scored on a Carlos Gomez single, and that would be all for Detwiler, who had again struck out the first two batters. Craig Stammen came on in relief, but had trouble getting the third out. After Gomez stole second and reached third on Sandy Leon’s throwing error, Ryan Braun drive him in with another single, and Ramirez ended all doubt with a two-run homer, his 12th of the year.
The Nats threatened in the sixth, when Steve Lombardozzi singled and Harper walked with one out. But Fiers put down the rally by striking out Ryan Zimmerman and inducing a harmless fly ball to right from Adam LaRoche.
After Michael Morse singled to lead off the seventh, Mark DeRosa singled with one out to put runners on first and third. But former Nats ace Livan Hernandez came out of the bullpen to put the dagger in his old team, getting a double-play ball from Leon to end the seventh and retiring the side in order in the eighth.
Jose Veras pitched a 1-2-3 ninth in a non-save situation.
Champ of the Game: None. The Nats’ four hits were spread among four batters, and each of them also either struck out or grounded into a double play in a key situation. The bullpen was ineffective, except for Henry Rodriguez, and when he’s the only champ of the game candidate, it’s a very bad night.
Chump of the game: Detwiler. It could have been a ballgame if he’s gotten that third out in either of the two big innings. But he didn’t, and the team need to begin building momentum all over again.