Game 98: Nationals 8, Brewers 2


60% of the way through the 2012 season, the Nationals have already matched their win total from the 2008 and 2009 seasons. They had the worst record in baseball in those two seasons, but are now tied for the best record and are 20 games over .500 for the first time since they were the 1994 Expos.

Oh, how the times have changed.

Edwin Jackson held the Brewers scoreless for seven innings and the offense jumped all over Yovani Gallardoas the Nationals (59-39) dominated the Brewers, 8-2, for their sixth straight win, pushing them to a five-game lead over the idle Braves.

Jackson (W, 6-6) pitched effectively, especially in pressure situations. He allowed nine baserunners via eight hits and a walk, but was able to strand them all. With his seven shutout innings, Jackson’s outing extends a streak of seven straight games in which Nats starters have allowed two or fewer runs, and six of these seven outings have been at least seven innings. During the six-game winning streak, each opposing team has scored exactly two runs.

The always-enigmatic Henry Rodriguez took over for the eighth inning and was able to perfectly exemplify his Jekyll and Hyde nature. He looked good in recording two quick outs, but promptly drilled Rickie Weeks and allowed a two-run homer to Carlos Gomez. Rodriguez and his 100mph fastball have always had promise and Davey Johnson’s public support, but as his ERA rises to 5.67, it is hard to think that he will be around much longer. Michael Gonzalez pitched a scoreless ninth, walking one and striking out two.

The offense, meanwhile, provided plenty of support for Jackson. Adam LaRoche led off the second inning with a home run, his third in three games, to give the Nats a 1-0 lead. Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa quickly got out, but the next three Nats were able to reach base, with a single from Jesus Flores and walks from Roger Bernadina and Jackson. Steve Lombardozzi then hit a bases-clearing RBI triple to score Jackson, put the Nats up 4-0 after two innings. The team added three more runs in the fifth inning on the strength of four singles, including one by Jackson, knocking Brewers’ starter Yovani Gallardo out of the game after five innings with seven earned runs. Michael Morse put the icing on the cake in the seventh when he hit an RBI single, his second of the game, to put the Nats up by eight.

Champ of the Game: Jackson, who kept the Brewers in check while the offense, with his help, went wild to give the Nationals a huge lead.
For the Brewers, Carlos Gomez hit a home run to score his team’s only two runs.

Chump of the Game: Rodriguez, who is slowly convincing observers that there is much more Bad Henry than Good Henry.
Gallardo put the Brewers in a hole from which they were unable to escape.

Unsung Hero: Ryan Zimmerman, who was 1-4 with a walk, one RBI, and two runs scored.
Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez was 2-3, but was pulled from the game in the eighth.

Next Game: Tomorrow in Milwaukee, 8:10pm. Detwiler (5-3, 3.01) v. Fiers (3-4, 1.96).