Brewers stroll past Nationals, 8-4
MILWAUKEE -- Mike Fiers worked his two-part plan against the Washington Nationals to perfection.
Fiers pitched seven effective innings, Aramis Ramirez hit three doubles and drove in five runs, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Nationals 8-4 on Friday night.
"That's what I have to do: pitch in the zone and trust in my defense," Fiers said. "I was focused on pounding the zone, going right after those guys and make them earn their hits and earn their runs."
Fiers (3-6) allowed three runs and five hits. He struck out eight and walked three in his second career victory in two starts against the Nationals. The right-hander pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a 6-0 win against Washington July 27, 2012, and made two relief appearances against them last season.
"I try to pitch around too many guys," Fiers said. "So, I have to trust in myself and get off the field as quick as possible. That's what I did."
Second baseman Scooter Gennett turned in a defensive gem in the fourth. Wilson Ramos hit a sharply hit ball that Gennett snagged with a dive that carried him well behind the bag at second. Without getting up, he flipped the ball with his glove to shortstop Jean Segura who grabbed it barehanded and stepped on the bag to just get Bryce Harper.
"At first I thought it was a hit, right off the bat, but he made a great play," Fiers said. "That's what we need, every night. Guys just playing hard, playing with their heart and getting a win."
Fiers escaped a two-out bases loaded jam in the sixth when he got pinch-hitter Danny Espinosa on a long fly ball that Shane Patterson caught on the warning track in left.
Ramirez put Milwaukee ahead 2-0 in the first with his ninth double of the season. His 10th drove in a run in the third. Then he highlighted the Brewers' four-run fourth inning with his 11th, a two-run line drive off reliever Taylor Hill. Jonathan Lucroy knocked in the other two runs that inning with a single.
"You need nights like tonight where he kind of just drives the bus offensively and just cleans everything up," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He did it tonight, thats for sure."
Jordan Zimmermann (5-4) allowed six runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings, the shortest start since going 2 1/3 on April 13. He walked one and struck out four.
He came in 4-0 with a 2.35 ERA in five career starts against the Brewers, but couldn't locate his pitches and it cost him just like his last start, a 6-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday when he allowed four runs and 10 hits in five innings.
"It's mainly location and not hitting the spots," Zimmermann said.
Bryce Harper did what he could to keep the Nationals close. He hit a solo shot, his 21st home run of the season, leading off the second and knocked in the second run with an RBI single in the third.
Harper turned a bit philosophical describing the loss.
"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains," he said.
Tyler Moore homered in the seventh and Ramos's double off reliever Corey Knebel in the eighth drove in Harper.
Nationals manager Matt Williams' astute eye cost the Brewers a run in the third. He asked for a review of second base umpire Todd Tichenor's safe call at second. Gerardo Parra dove head first back to the bag on a pickoff play as shortstop Ian Desmond applied the tag. It took 59 seconds for the timely reversal. One batter later, Ramirez doubled home Ryan Braun from first.
Adam Lind made it 8-2 with a run-scoring in the sixth. Each position player had at least one hit for Milwaukee which tied its season-high with 16 hits.
Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth for Milwaukee.
Also of note, Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez (sore legs) missed his third consecutive game. "He's day-to-day, but hopefully tomorrow," Counsell noted.