On Friday night, Milwaukee became the rare ballclub that did decently against Washington ace Stephen Strasburg.
Before Friday night, only six players had hit multiple home runs off Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg over his five years in the big leagues.
Scooter Gennett joined the club with a solo home run in the first inning, while Khris Davis hit his second-career homer off Strasburg an inning later.
Milwaukee added a pair of runs in the third inning and held on behind Kyle Lohse from there in a 4-2 victory at Nationals Park on Friday.
"He’s a great pitcher, and he has great stuff," Gennett said of Strasburg. "I think it is just when I hit a home run, Khris has to hit a home run."
Just as they did earlier this season at Miller Park, the Brewers jumped on Strasburg early Friday night. But Strasburg settled in this time, limiting the damage to just the four runs he surrendered in the first three frames over seven innings.
The Nationals had runners on in every inning against Lohse, but the veteran right-hander was able to limit the damage against him to just an Ian Desmond RBI double in the fourth inning.
Lohse allowed just one run on 10 hits, joining Cliff Lee as the only other pitcher in baseball to allow 10 or more hits with one run or less scored against him. Washington had leadoff hits in five of seven innings against Lohse but also hit into a pair of double plays.
"I thought he threw well but there were runners on every inning," manager Ron Roenicke said. "It was just a battle for him. Some of the pitches (they hit) were good pitches. Werth went down and got a good pitch — a slider down and away. Desmond hit a fastball in that I thought was a good pitch and he hit it up the middle.
"He’s able to make some good pitches and get out of it. I thought he threw the ball really well."
After the home runs by Gennett and Davis put the Brewers up 2-0, Milwaukee tacked on two more in the third on a two-run single by Aramis Ramirez. A walk to Gennett started things for the Brewers with two outs in the third, while Ryan Braun put two in scoring position with a double to left.
"I thought our bats were good," Roenicke said. "To have that quality of an arm out there against us, I think we did a nice job."
Strasburg settled in and lasted seven innings Friday, but the Brewers have now handed the right-hander his last two losses this season. Milwaukee pounded Strasburg for seven runs in 4 2/3 innings on June 25, and he had allowed just five earned runs in his three starts since.
"We pulled quality AB after quality AB and strung them together," Davis said. "We got him early. It’s important to score first in baseball. We definitely kept that momentum."
Down a man: It is hard to be short in the bullpen after four days off, but the Brewers were Friday night. The reason left-hander Zach Duke came in to face Adam LaRoche in the eighth inning was because Will Smith was unavailable.
According to Roenicke, Smith suffered back spasms Friday and couldn’t pitch, leaving Duke as the top left-hander in the bullpen. "I hoping it is just today, but we’ll see when we come in tomorrow," Roenicke said.
Strange play: The Brewers were on the wrong end of a bizarre sequence in the bottom of the first inning Friday, as Milwaukee went from thinking it had turned a double play to one of the outs not counting.
After leading off the inning with a single, Denard Span was called safe on a fielder’s choice groundball hit by Anthony Rendon. Span clearly interfered with Gennett’s turn, but the second baseman was able to get off a good throw and get Rendon at fist.
The umpiring crew confired and determined Span was out for interference but Rendon was ruled safe at first base because Span was originally safe at second.
"I think they got it wrong but I can’t tell you a ruling on it because I’ve never seen it before," Roenicke said. "(The umpire) said, ‘Once the umpire calls him safe and then calls the interference, it then becomes a dead ball. Regardless if whether we turned it from there, the ball is dead.’ That just doesn’t seem right to me.
"You never see it because if you are safe there you never come up and interfere with the guy. If you are out it is easy. Both guys are out."
Segura returns: The Brewers officially activated Jean Segura from the bereavement list prior to Friday night’s game, as the shortstop returned to the lineup after being away from the team following the death of his nine-month-old son.
Segura went 1 for 4 at the plate Friday and received a big ovation from the fans at Nationals Park prior to his first at-bat of the night.
"It’s important to me and to members of my family," Segura said of all the support he’s received. "It was a tough moment for me and my family. But being here is also keeping me in the locker room with my friends and my teammates. To see the support they give to me — even with the other teams. When I read about that and that they care about me, I feel pretty good.
"I feel strong to be here and do the best to help the team."