Heading into the series finale at Miller Park, the Nationals had a chance to do something the team hadn’t done since July 4-6th against the Padres. The Nationals were on the brink of finally sweeping a series. However a five run bottom of the sixth inning against rookie Taylor Jordan and Fernando Abad (0-3) led to the Brewers defeating Washington 8-5. With the loss, the Nationals fell to three games below .500 and continue to have no consistency whatsoever. The team will play terrific baseball for two games and then go back to being the struggling they have been for the majority of the season.
The game started off on a bright note for the Nationals. In the top of the second inning, the Nationals took advantage of some sloppy play by Milwaukee. Brewers starter Kyle Lohse hit Jayson Werth to begin the inning, and after retiring Adam LaRoche on a fly ball to center, then hit Ian Desmond with a fastball. Steve Lombardozzi would single on a fly ball to left field to fill the bases up for Kurt Suzuki, who promptly brought two runs in for the Nationals with a line drive base hit into right center. The Nats would score a third run when Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy mishandled a Taylor Jordan safety squeeze, allowing Lombardozzi to score. The Brewers would counter with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, but the Nationals would cruise to the bottom of the sixth inning with a four run lead after LaRoche homered in the top of the sixth.
The game went downhill from there. Taylor Jordan would allow the first three men to reach base before getting All Star center fielder Carlos Gomez to hit a sacrifice fly for the first out of the inning. That would also be the last out Jordan would record, as Fernando Abad relieved him and allowed four more runs to score, with most of the damage coming on an RBI double by Juan Francisco and a bloop two run single by Jeff Bianchi. While the Nationals would come within one run after a pinch hit home run by Anthony Rendon in the seventh, the bullpen would allow two more runs to score for a final of 8-5 Milwaukee. John Axford(5-4) pitched the sixth inning, allowing LaRoche’s home run but also collecting a victory.
Crunch time is now for the Nationals as they will travel home for a three game set against the NL East leading Atlanta Braves. This series will be the first three of the final nine games against Atlanta, with Washington needing to win the majority of those to have any shot at the division. On Monday night, the Nationals will have the right man for the job on the mound as Stephen Strasburg will oppose Atlanta left hander Mike Minor to begin the critical series. First game is at 7:05 ET.