Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Bats blast away with three home runs

Offense has early success vs. Washington’s Roark

- Tom Haudricour­t

WASHINGTON – Just as the Milwaukee Brewers’ game against Washington was about to begin Friday night, news broke that they had traded for Gio Gonzalez.

That deal certainly made it easy for the Nationals’ veteran lefty to change teams. It’s not far from the home club-

house to the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park.

The Brewers had business to conduct, however, and some payback to deliver to Washington starter Tanner Roark, who took the loss in Milwaukee’s 4-1 victory. The last time the Brewers saw Roark, he was shutting them out for eight innings at Miller Park in a 7-3 victory on July 25.

This time, the Brewers unleashed an early bombs-away attack on Roark, with each home run longer than the one before. It started in the first inning when Travis Shaw drilled a two-run shot to center field with two down, his 27th of the season.

Washington responded with a run in the bottom of the inning but it could have been much worse. The Nationals loaded the bases with no outs on hits by Adam Eaton and Trea Turner and a walk to Bryce Harper but Jhoulys Chacín limited the damage to Anthony Rendon’s run-scoring grounder.

With one down in the Brewers second, catcher Erik Kratz launched a nodoubter to left field, his fifth of the season. Jesús Aguilar matched that blast with an even longer shot to left with one down in the third, No. 31 on the season, to make it a 4-1 game.

Chacin (14-5) has been the rock of the Brewers’ rotation and he continued to excell, allowing only six hits and one run over 61⁄3 innings. But the victory was anything but a cinch when the Nationals loaded the bases in the ninth inning with one out against de facto closer Jeremy Jeffress.

Pitching with rain coming down heavily, Jeffress struck out Bryce Harper on a 3-2 splitter, the eighth pitch of the at-bat, and induced Anthony Rendon to ground into a force a

In acquiring Gonzalez, the Brewers obviously are hoping a change of scenery does wonders. Since the all-star break, he is 1-5 with a 6.55 ERA in eight outings.

The Brewers traded two Class A Wisconsin players for Gonzalez – infielder Gilbert Lara and first baseman/catcher K.J. Harrison.


PIÑA FEELING MUCH BETTER: Catcher Manny Piña, hit on the left side of the face with a pitch Wednesday in Cincinnati, was feeling much better. He got five stitches on the inside of his mouth but the swelling was down and he was able to eat normally. “Manny’s available,” manager Craig Counsell said.

SCHERZER WON’T PITCH SUNDAY: The Brewers caught a break when the Nationals opted to move ace Max Scherzer back a day, from the Sunday series finale to Monday against St. Louis – a team they are battling for the top wild-card spot. Instead, Washington is starting Jefry Rodriguez (2-1, 4.54). The Brewers do have to face another tough pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, on Saturday, however. ”

ROUGH MONTH: August was brutal for Eric Thames. In 19 games (only 10 starts), he batted .098 (4 for 41) with a .159 OBP and .403 OPS, with two homers and five RBI. In 41 at-bats, he struck out 25 times. His playing time has decreased, especially with Jesús Aguilar becoming the regular first baseman.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW, NBD: Counsell said he’s not bothered by the Brewers’s woeful 5-22 record in replay challenges: “You don’t get penalized for getting replays wrong.” You do lose your challenges for the rest of game but Counsell said that rarely comes into play.

REINFORCEM­ENTS ON THE WAY: Counsell said some September call-ups would arrive Saturday but didn’t say who.


This year: 76-60 Last year: 71-65


Saturday: Brewers at Nationals, 6:05 p.m. Milwaukee RHP Chase Anderson (9-7, 4.04) vs. Washington RHP Stephen Strasburg (7-7, 4.15). TV: FS Wisconsin. Radio: AM-620.

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Jesus Aguilar celebrates a solo home run in the third inning, one of three HRs by the Brewers.
GETTY IMAGES Jesus Aguilar celebrates a solo home run in the third inning, one of three HRs by the Brewers.
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