Nationals hit 8 home runs to defeat Brewers
(TNS) WASHINGTON — If you thought the Milwaukee Brewers’ disheartening road trip couldn’t get any worse, you were wrong. Very, very wrong.
In an embarrassing show- ing that devolved into a regular-season Home Run Derby, the Brewers watched helplessly Thursday afternoon as the Washington Nationals matched or set several long-ball records, including five homers in one inning.
Washington hit eight home runs in the game, two shy of the major-league record and one short of the National League mark.
The result was a 15-2 pummeling that put an awful and unwanted exclamation point on a disastrous three-city trip in which the Brewers went 2-8. In the process, they went from having a cushy lead in the National League Central over the Chicago Cubs to second place before those teams meet this weekend at Miller Park.
“It’s a game that you just turn the page on,” manager Craig Counsell said. “It didn’t go well from early on. We turn the page and get a change of venue, which is welcome.
“We’re looking forward to the series (against the Cubs). It’s on to the next challenge. It’s a big series for us, certainly, and we’re looking forward to it. It’s
going to be a good atmosphere at home. It’s always crazy when the Cubs come to town.”
In place of injured Matt Garza (calf strain), righthander Michael Blazek made his first major-league start and it couldn’t have gone worse. He allowed a two-run home run by Bryce Harper in the first inning and four straight homers in
the in the third, including another by Harper, after he opened the inning by walking Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer. Brian Goodwin and Wilmer Difo went deep ahead of Harper and Ryan Zimmerman blasted the fourth in a row.
After finally recording an out, Blazek surrendered his fifth home run of the inning to Anthony Rendon and was removed from the game by Counsell. Wily Peralta took over and didn’t fare much better, allowing two more home
runs — including Zimmerman’s second of the game — during a six- run rally in the fourth.
At that point, it was a 15- 1 game and the only question was if the Nationals would set an all- time record for home runs. Perhaps the hitters were arm weary at that point because they didn’t score again.
Blazek became the first pitcher in major- league history to surrender five home runs in one inning and the first starter to surrender six in less than three innings. The five homers in one inning was a franchise record for Washington, going back to the beginning in Montreal.
No team had homered five times in one inning since the Brewers did it against Cincinnati on April 22, 2006.
“I felt like I made some decent pitches but they were just locked in on everything,” said Blazek, who turned in four scoreless relief outings after coming up from the minors before his first start. “It was tough.
“It sucks. It’s not the way I wanted it to go, obviously. It just kept building and building. The next thing you know, it’s a crooked number.”
The home-run barrage was pure overkill by the
Nationals’ offense with Scherzer on the mound. Pitching on his 33rd birthday, Washington’s ace went six innings and allowed three hits and one run — that coming on a home run by Travis Shaw into the third deck in the fourth.
It was inevitable that a position player would take the mound for the Brewers and it happened in the eighth when utility player Hernan Perez pitched a scoreless inning. With that appearance on the mound, Perez has played every position in the majors except catcher.
“(Counsell) told me in the seventh that I would pitch,” said Perez, who became the 11th position player in Brewers history to pitch in a game (Rick Dempsey did it twice). “Everybody was happy that I pitched. They enjoyed it and I enjoyed it, too. It was fun.
“I threw one changeup and two curveballs. Everything else was fastballs. I saw one was 83 (mph).”
Asked how the Brewers would regroup and get ready for the Cubs after such a bad trip, Perez said, “We have to forget about the road trip. We have to turn the page and keep working hard. We’ve been doing that all year. It’s not going to be hard for us. We have to keep going.”