Washington Nationals Offense Shut Out Against Brewers
By Ricky Keeler
The Washington Nationals offense managed only two hits against Junior Guerra in a 1-0 loss to the Brewers
Today, the Washington Nationals (50-34) played their annual 11 a.m. 4th of July game at Nats Park. However, the offense struggled to get anything going throughout the entire day against Brewers starter Junior Guerra after scoring 12 runs against the Reds yesterday. In the end, Martin Maldonado’s home run in the fifth against Max Scherzer was the difference as the Milwaukee Brewers (36-46) beat the Nats 1-0.
The day got off to a crazy start in the top of the first. After a Ryan Braun two-out single, Dusty Baker went out to show the lineup card to the home plate umpire and it turned out that Braun and Jonathan Lucroy were batting out of order. Braun was ruled out, but the out was charged to Lucroy and Braun ended up leading off the second inning.
For four innings, it was a pitcher’s duel between Scherzer and Guerra. Then, in the top of the fifth, Maldonado led off the inning by crushing a fastball to left center for a solo home run. The catcher’s third home run of the season put the Brewers in front, 1-0.
That was the only damage done against Scherzer all day. The Nats’ right-hander went six innings today due to a high pitch count. He gave up the one solo home run on four hits, struck out seven, and walked three on 114 pitches (73 strikes) in the loss.
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That one run was all that Guerra would need. The Brewers’ right-hander gave up only two hits, struck out seven, and walked two over 7.1 innings on 109 pitches (60 strikes) in the win. The only two hits against him were base hits by Jayson Werth and Danny Espinosa.
The Washington Nationals best chance against Guerra came in the bottom of the sixth. They had runners on second and third with two outs after a Werth single (advanced to second on a Braun error), a Harper walk, and a wild pitch. But, Wilson Ramos ended up striking out swinging and stranding both runners.
After Scherzer, the trio of Felipe Rivero, Shawn Kelley, and Jonathan Papelbon (first game back off the disabled list) gave up one hit over the final three innings with four combined strikeouts. Papelbon had two of those strikeouts in a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Ramos did draw a two-out walk against Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress in the bottom of the ninth, but Ryan Zimmerman grounded out to Jeffress for the final out of the game. Milwaukee’s closer is now 22-for-23 in save chances this season.
Next: Nats-Brewers Series Preview (7/4-7/6)
Next Game: The Washington Nationals will play the second game of their three game series against the Brewers tonight. You can watch the game on MASN at 7:05 p.m. ET. Gio Gonzalez (4-7, 4.81 ERA) will get the start for the Nats against Zach Davies (5-4, 4.22) for the Brewers.