Nationals try to remain on roll vs. Brewers

Field Level Media

August 17, 2019 at 8:36 am.

The Washington Nationals were outhit 9-3 by the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night, but the eventual outcome was the same as it has been all week.

Another Washington win.

The Nationals used a pair of RBI doubles by Anthony Rendon, both driving in spark plug Trea Turner, to win their fifth straight game, 2-1, and strengthen their hold on the top wild-card spot in the National League.

Also, the surging NL East club moved to within 4 1/2 games of first-place Atlanta after the Braves were pounded 8-3 at home by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The second game of the three-game series is scheduled for Saturday evening at Nationals Park.

Washington manager Dave Martinez credited the strong pitching by left-hander Patrick Corbin for keeping the team in the game on a night when the bats were shut down by Brewers starter Adrian Houser.

Corbin’s slider accounted for all eight strikeouts — all swinging.

“The scouting report was to throw breaking balls down in the zone,” said Martinez, whose club is 11 games over .500 for the first team all year. “He kept us in the ball game and got out of some jams. He gave us what we needed.”

Turner scored twice without reaching base via a hit — once after being hit by a pitch, the other on a walk — and the shortstop has reached base in 23 consecutive games.

The Nationals could be without second baseman Brian Dozier either Saturday or Sunday. His wife, Renee, is close to delivering their baby girl and will be induced on Sunday at the latest.

A winner of his last seven decisions, right-hander Anibal Sanchez (7-6, 3.75) will make his first start against Milwaukee this season in Saturday’s game and is 3-2 with a 5.66 ERA in nine career starts versus the Brewers.

Friday’s night defeat was a particularly frustrating one for the Brewers, who have lost three of four and trail in the race for the top spot in the NL Central to first-place St. Louis and lost ground in pursuit of the second wild-card spot.

Milwaukee pitched exceptionally well on Friday as Houser fired a career-high seven innings and gave up just two hits. In all, the Nationals managed just three base hits, but two of them were run-producing doubles by Rendon.

The bats continued to be silent for the most part, especially in key situations, as the Brewers stranded 13 baserunners.

Orlando Arcia homered for a 1-0 lead in the third, but Milwaukee batters were just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and neither hit drove in a run.

“It’s the same story tonight. We just couldn’t get a hit with men in scoring position. We pitched really good, but we just need more runs, bottom line,” Brewers skipper Craig Counsell said.

Milwaukee starter Jordan Lyles has been strong since joining the Brewers from Pittsburgh, posting a 1.59 ERA and a .143 batting average against in three starts with the Brew Crew.

Lyles hasn’t faced Washington this season but has made 10 appearances (two starts) in his career against them, going 0-2 with a 5.55 ERA.