Nelson stellar in Brewers’ loss to Nationals
WASHINGTON — The Nationals usually are at their best with Bryce Harper in the lineup. On Wednesday night, Washington found its groove offensively with its All-Star ejected and the score tied in the eighth.
Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Lind each had two-run doubles in a seven-run eighth inning to help the Washington Nationals rally past the Milwaukee Brewers 8-5.
Harper was ejected by home plate umpire Chris Segal after striking out in the eighth inning with runners on the corners. Tied 2-2, Zimmerman immediately picked up his fellow All-Star by lacing a liner into the right field corner.
Washington had six hits including four doubles in the eighth. Pedro Severino’s RBI double put Washington up 8-2.
Daniel Murphy’s homer pulled Washington within 2-1 in the seventh and ended a stretch of 17 1/3 scoreless innings for Washington.
“We were due,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said.
Harper’s single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games. His outburst ended his night early. He joked he knew pregame he was more amped than usual thanks to his playlist that included Logic and Chance the Rapper.
“I called my brother. I’m like, ‘Man, I’m so fired up to play today.’ I guess it got me a little too fired up.”
Jimmy Nelson struck out 10 and allowed one run and four hits in seven innings plus a batter. Jacob Barnes (3-2) entered with a 2-1 lead and surrendered two runs and two hits while recording only one out.
“Jacob’s been our eighth inning guy, and to me he did his job tonight,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He got two ground balls. Unfortunately, they found holes.”
Nelson exited after walking Matt Wieters leading off the eighth. Brian Goodwin’s double off Barnes put two runners in scoring position with one out. After Wilmer Difo’s single through the right side of the infield drove in the tying run, Harper faced reliever Josh Hader.
Already on edge after a strike call in his previous at-bat, Harper grew hotter when a 1-0 pitch from Hader he thought low was called a strike. Two pitches later Harper struck out swinging. He slammed his bat to the ground and went nose-to-nose with Segal for his second ejection of the season.
“Swing at the pitch, kicked the dirt. Didn’t really yell at (Segal),” Harper explained. “Just yelled cause I was mad that I struck out. Then he tossed me. Don’t know why he tossed me.”
Ryan Madson (1-0) tossed one scoreless inning for the win.
Gio Gonzalez surrendered two runs on five hits and had eight strikeouts for Washington.
Domingo Santana’s first inning blast, estimated at 476 feet, landed on the concourse beyond the left field stands. Washington’s offense blasted off late.
You’re going through a gauntlet starting with Harper. You’re going through some of the best hitters in the game,” Counsell said. “We’ve done a nice job of it for seven times through with them. The eighth time, it just didn’t happen.”
Harper finished 1 of 4 and is batting .416 (30 for 72) during his streak. He reached base safely in his 26th consecutive game, matching his career-best.
Milwaukee recalled Lewis Brinson from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he was hitting .345 with 10 homers and 43 RBI. He hit .097 in 31 at-bats last month with the Brewers in his only previous major league action. He homered on Wednesday night for his first in the majors.
Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (4-5, 3.83 ERA) was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Sunday with a lower right leg strain.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (forearm) will land on the 10-day DL Thursday retroactive to July 24. Baker said Strasburg, who exited after two innings on Sunday at Arizona, is expected to miss just one start. RHP Erick Fedde will arrive from AAA-Syracuse to make Saturday’s start. . . . The Nationals reinstated OF Ryan Raburn from the bereavement list and promptly placed him on the 10-day DL retroactive to July 23 with a left trapezius strain.
SWARZAK DUE THURSDAY
Counsell said RHP Anthony Swarzak is expected to be activated Thursday. The Brewers acquired Swarzak on Wednesday from the Chicago White Sox for OF Ryan Cordell. . . . OF Brett Phillips was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs after Wednesday’s game. Phillips was hitting .229 with two homers and 4 RBI in 15 games.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and Washington mayor Muriel Bowser attended a pregame ceremony to unveil the logo for the 2018 All-Star at Nationals Park. The game is set for July 17. Harper restated plans to participate in the Home Run Derby for the first time since 2013 if asked.
Brewers: RHP Michael Blazek (0-0, 0.00) makes his first career start after 108 relief appearances since 2013.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (11-5, 2,26) allowed five runs and three home runs in his previous start at Arizona on July 21.
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