Saturday, June 25, 2016

REDBLACKS REVENGE: OTTAWA WINS GREY CUP REMATCH IN OT THRILLER

The Ottawa REDBLACKS got their revenge over the Edmonton Eskimos, winning the Grey Cup rematch 45-37 in an overtime thriller.
It was Trevor Harris, not Henry Burris, who led the REDBLACKS to victory after the reigning Most Outstanding Player appeared to jam the pinky finger on his throwing hand in the third quarter and could not return to the game.
Following a 19-yard rush by rookie running back Trevon Van, Harris found Brad Sinopoli in the end zone to give the REDBLACKS the lead in the extra frame. Greg Ellingson would convert on the two-point attempt and the defence did the rest, stopping Mike Reilly on third down to clinch the victory.
The win was the REDBLACKS’ first over the Eskimos since joining the league in 2014.
Harris was impressive in his Ottawa debut, completing 17 of 19 passes for 292 yards and throwing three touchdowns. Burris threw for 251 yards with a touchdown and a pick.
The final minute of the game featured a 39-yard field goal by Sean Whyte to give the Eskimos a 37-34 lead, but Chris Milo booted a 55-yarder to tie the game as time expired to send the game to overtime.
Harris continued to lead the REDBLACKS offence in the fourth quarter, extending their lead to 31-24 after a 38-yard Milo field goal. Adarius Bowman and the Esks responded with a 40-yard gain and Whyte added a 35-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 31-27. It didn’t take long for Ottawa to answer back as Ellingson took a short pass 56 yards downfield. Milo hit another field goal to put the REDBLACKS back up by seven. Derel Walker delivered a returning blow, moving the Esks 64 yards downfield before John White punched in a touchdown to tie the game.
White finished the game with a rushing touchdown on 43 yards and 11 carries and a receiving touchdown on 51 yards.
Sinopoli
The offensive showdown started right on the opening drive. A 20-yard reception by White was the highlight of the Esks’ opening drive that ended in a single.
Starting at midfield midway through the first quarter after pinning the Esks deep in their zone, Burris and the REDBLACKS went to work. Burris threaded a 19-yard pass to Ernest Jackson but their drive would end there. In the red zone, Van fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Kenny Ladler to end the threat.
In the final minutes of the opening frame, Arnaud Gascon-Nadon sacked Reilly in the end zone, putting the REDBLACKS up 2-1 with the safety. They would add a single on their next drive to go up 3-1 and carry a lead into the second quarter.
A pair of first downs by Jake Harty and Brad Sinopoli moved the chains downfield for Ottawa but they could not put any more points on the board.
Reilly and the Esks offence went back to work, hooking up with new weapon Chris Getzlaf for a 21-yard gain and Nate Coehoorn to move the team into field goal distance. Sean Whyte hit a 29-yard field goal to put the Esks back up 4-3.
A series of short passes from Burris brought the REDBLACKS into scoring territory where Van cut through a seam for a 14-yard rush. Kienan Lafrance scored the first touchdown of the game on a four-yard reception and Ernest Jackson caught the two-point conversion as Ottawa went ahead 11-4.
A 55-yard reception by Walker brought Edmonton into the midfield. Bowman caught back-to-back passes before John White found a hole for a 27-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game.
Following a 12-yard Sinopoli reception, Milo nailed a 45-yard field goal in the last play of the first half to give the REDBLACKS the 14-11 lead.
The REDBLACKS opened the second half on offence but couldn’t get anything going. Milo’s punt attempt was blocked by Ruben Frank and the rookie brought it back for a touchdown to give the Esks the lead back. The defence would get back to work as Odell Willis intercepted Burris to put the Esks in great field position. Edmonton would hit another field goal to put themselves ahead 21-14.
redblacks2
Not long later, Burris appeared to jam his finger and left the field with the training staff. Off-season signee Harris, in his first play as a member of the REDBLACKS, came into the game and immediately hooked up with Chris Williams on a 71-yard touchdown to tie the game 21-21. It was the longest pass of Harris’ career.
The seesaw battle continued but moved in favour of the REDBLACKS as Harris and Williams connected again, this time on a 37-yard major as Ottawa regained the lead, 28-21.
Reilly and the Esks picked up the pace on offence, quickly moving downfield and adding another Whyte field goal as the third quarter dwindled down.
This marked the first matchup of Esks head coach Jason Maas against his former team. The ex-REDBLACKS offensive coordinator left for Edmonton in the off-season following the departure of Chris Jones.
Next week, the REDBLACKS visit the Montreal Alouettes while the Eskimos get an early bye.

Hero in a pinch! Johnson's HR lifts Mets in 11th

 Julio Teheran and Jacob deGrom waged an impressive pitching battle and maintained their status as two of baseball's most unfortunate pitchers in terms of run support. Once they exited on Saturday night at Turner Field, Kelly Johnson damaged his former team with a pinch-hit home run that provided the Mets a 1-0, 11-inning win over the Braves.
Johnson, who spent this season's first two months with the Braves, opened the 11th inning with a home run off Dario Alvarez. The solo shot provided the Mets their fourth win in their past five games and ended a 23 2/3-inning scoreless streak for Atlanta's bullpen.
"You get excited coming here to play," Johnson said. "Any time you're playing against a former team, you get a little extra pep in your step. You like to go and prove yourself."
Coming off the one-hit shutout he tossed at Citi Field on Sunday, Teheran limited the Mets to five hits over eight scoreless innings. The Braves right-hander has completed a career-best 23 consecutive scoreless innings over his past three starts and 24 consecutive scoreless innings against the Mets within a three-start span that dates back to last year.
deGrom proved every bit as impressive as he scattered seven hits and did not allow a run over a season-high eight innings. The Mets have not scored a run while deGrom has been in the game within any of his past three starts. They have provided him a total of two runs of support over his past five starts.
"I'm on Julio's side, but both [starting pitchers] were impressive tonight," Braves center fielderEnder Inciarte said. "So, you can see when a game goes zero-zero through the 10th inning, it's because two starters are dealing."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Deep and gone: It was an ex-Met against an ex-Brave when Johnson stepped to the plate against Alvarez to lead off the 11th. Less than three weeks after they traded him to the Mets for the second time in a calendar year, Johnson burned his old team with a line-drive homer to right. All three of the left-handed Johnson's homers this season have come off lefty pitchers.
"I felt like it was going to be out, I did," Johnson said. "When I saw it hit the top of the wall I was a little bit humbled. That's a big gap out there."
Missed opportunity: The Braves grounded into three double plays within the first four innings and were unable to capitalize after notching three singles against deGrom in the sixth. Teheran recorded the first of these three singles, but he was held at third base whenNick Markakis drilled a two-out single to left field. Adonis Garcia followed with an inning-ending groundout.
"That's a good call," Braves manager Brian Snitker said of third base coach Bo Porter's decision to hold Teheran. "You can't run that guy into an out right there. You've just got to hope you can get a big hit with the next guy. And then shoot, Adonis smokes a ball down the line. We just couldn't scratch one over."
Scoreless, but unsupported: Striking out seven and inducing three consecutive inning-ending double plays, deGrom was as sharp as he's been all season. But the Mets gave him his usual run support: next to nothing. They have gone 21 consecutive innings without scoring a run while deGrom has been in the game, and have plated a total of two for him over his last 35 innings. He has not won since April 30 despite a 2.25 ERA over his last six starts.
"The mindset stays the same," deGrom said. "Go out there and continue to try to put up zeroes."
Looking like an ace: As Teheran has posted a 1.72 ERA over his past 13 starts, he has steadily strengthened the argument that he should still be considered a top-flight pitcher. The Braves' right-hander hit Curtis Granderson's with a 1-2 slider in the third inning and two batters later allowed a single Yoenis Cespedes. But Cespedes was thrown out attempting to take second by third baseman Adonis Garcia, who took a throw from Inciarate in center. Neil Walker followed with a flyout that began a streak in which Teheran retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced.
"I didn't feel like I needed to change anything," Teheran said. "Obviously after you throw a one-hit shutout, you don't want to put anything else in your head. You just come in thinking if you have to make adjustments, you make adjustments. I'm just trying to compete every time."
QUOTABLE
"The thing about me is when I get told to do something and I don't do it to help the team, I get a little bit upset about it. … It's not a good feeling." -- Mets outfielder Alejandro De Aza, who popped into a bunt double play in part because he slammed his bat to the ground instead of sprinting to first base in the top of the 10th (De Aza is batting .169)
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Teheran has gone 3-for-4 against Mets pitchers this year and limited Mets hitters to six hits in 56 at-bats.
WHAT'S NEXT
Mets: Brandon Nimmo, the Mets' No. 4 prospect, should make his debut in the starting lineup in Sunday's series finale at Turner Field against the Braves at 1:35 p.m. ET. The Metscalled up Nimmo prior to Saturday's game, optioning fellow outfielder Michael Conforto to Triple-A Las Vegas. Nimmo will play behind starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, 20 years his senior.
Braves: Atlanta will counter with Bud Norris in the series finale against the Mets on Sunday. Norris has allowed two earned runs or less in three of the four starts he has made since being placed back in the Braves' rotation.

Cutch, Bucs back locked-in Locke, blast LA

 For nearly three months, Andrew McCutchen has not looked like himself at the plate. He's been physically compromised, mechanically off and statistically average. But Saturday night, he looked like Andrew McCutchen again. The Pirates' star center fielder homered twice, leading the Bucs to a 6-1 win over the Dodgers at PNC Park.
"That's what we do. We work at it every day," McCutchen said. "You just hope that the results will get there. It's not like I'm sitting around, hoping things change. I'm going out there, trying to get things done and getting things turned over. Tonight was a good night. Hopefully we'll be able to go from here."
McCutchen crushed two home runs off Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda. The first was a solo shot in the fourth inning, a 73-mph curveball that turned into a 427-foot blast. His three-run homer in the sixth was vintage McCutchen, turning on a 91 mph fastball and ripping it 400 feet into the left-field seats.
"He's going to get to somebody sooner or later," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It really doesn't matter who."
Slowed down by a swollen left thumb and uncharacteristically poor swings, McCutchen had been batting just .239 with a .717 OPS, and he'd hit one homer (on June 16) since May 27.
"He's one of the elite players in the game," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of McCutchen. "You know he's going to come out of it at some point in time. You just hope we're out of town when that happens. He's obviously finding his stroke."
McCutchen's performance overshadowed another strong outing by left-hander Jeff Locke, who followed up a win over Madison Bumgarner and the Giants on Monday by outdueling Maeda and the Dodgers on Saturday. Maeda allowed four runs on four hits in five innings, his first time permitting four runs since May 22 in San Diego. Locke was perfect for five innings, before Scott Van Slyke and A.J. Ellis broke it up with back-to-back doubles in the sixth, and Locke ultimately allowed one run without a walk over seven innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Location, location, location: First-pitch strikes and well-positioned defenders played big parts in Locke's strong start. Locke recorded only one strikeout in the first five innings, but he got ahead of the Dodgers -- he threw first-pitch strikes to 12 of the first 15 hitters he faced -- and let the Pirates' analytically influenced infield go to work. Even when they were out of position, the Pirates made plays -- look no further for proof than David Freese's running, overhead grab for the second out of the fifth inning.
"We were in really good spots tonight, as you saw," Hurdle said. "Really good stuff. Our analytics, [Dan] Fox and [Mike] Fitzgerald, setting these defenses have been very, very strong."
Trying too hard: After tying the game by doubling home Van Slyke in the sixth inning, Ellis was caught off second trying to get too much of a lead when Maeda, in a bunt situation, pulled the bat back and took a ball. Maeda followed with a line single. The Pirates scouting report noted that Ellis takes aggressive secondary leads off second base, Hurdle said, calling the play one of the tipping points of the game.
"I was anticipating contact, it was really bad baserunning, especially at that time," said Ellis. "Soon as the ball got through the hitting zone, I was in no-man's land, I was dead. It was a really good play by Erik Kratz."
Have Mercer: Quietly surging back from a mid-spring slump, Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercerextended his hitting streak to 10 games with a two-run shot into the bushes behind the center field fence in the sixth inning. Mercer's fourth homer of the season -- and his third of the month -- came against former teammate Joe Blanton and gave Pittsburgh a five-run lead.
Power outage: The Dodgers' streak of a home run in 14 consecutive games, longest since 2001, came to an end, but just barely. Pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick's eighth-inning double missed clearing the right-center fence by inches. The double moved Ellis to third with no outs, but Tony Watson struck out the top of the order -- Kik√© HernandezJustin Turner andCorey Seager -- to put down the threat.
"Watson started bearing down and making pitches," said Roberts. "He's got good stuff. He's one of best set-up guys in the game."
QUOTABLE
"If y'all don't listen to Adele, y'all don't like Christmas. Everybody loves Adele." --McCutchen, on his new walk-up song
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Pirates had gone a season-high 105 straight innings without an error when Sean Rodriguez made an errant throw to A.J. Schugel in the ninth inning. It was the club's longest such streak since going 112 frames without an error in 2007.
Locke has won his last five starts at PNC Park, with the Pirates going 15-7 in his 22 starts here since the start of last season. Locke is now 5-1 with a 2.96 ERA at PNC Park this season.
WHAT'S NEXT
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw starts for the Dodgers, need we say more? He currently leads the Majors in ERA (1.57), WHIP (0.67), strikeouts (141), opponents' batting average (.174) and innings pitched (115), while ranking among big league leaders in wins (11, T-2nd). Contrasting the 141 Ks, he has just seven walks in 115 innings (20.14 K/BB ratio). First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. PT.
Pirates: Right-hander Chad Kuhl, the Pirates' No. 16 prospect, will make his Major League debut on Sunday night against the Dodgers at PNC Park. Kuhl will be called up from Triple-A Indianapolis to at least temporarily fill the void in Pittsburgh's rotation left by Gerrit Cole's injury and Juan Nicasio's assignment to the bullpen. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.

Altuve's 4 hits, 7-run frame key Astros' victory

 Jose Altuve homered in a four-hit night and drove in three runs, and the Astros bolted to a huge early lead for the second straight game in a 13-5 victory over the Royals on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Astros, who have won a season-high seven in a row and got 12 runs in the first two innings on Friday, put up seven runs in the second inning on Saturday. Altuve, whose homer was his 13th, had two doubles among his four hits. Carlos Correa homered, his 12th, and doubled in a run. The homers came back-to-back in the second.
The Astros pulled within 8 1/2 games of the American League West-leading Rangers, pending the Rangers-Red Sox outcome on Saturday night. The Royals fell to five games behind the AL Central-leading Indians.
Royals right-hander Chris Young pitched a scoreless first before his night fell apart. Young lasted 2 1/3 innings and gave up seven earned runs. In the first two games of the series, Royals starters have gone 3 1/3 innings and given up 19 runs (18 earned).
Royals catcher Drew Butera was called upon in the ninth inning. It was the fourth career pitching appearance for Butera, who gave up one hit, but wound up with a scoreless inning.
Astros starter Mike Fiers was only marginally better and couldn't secure a win despite being handed a 9-1 lead. Fiers got through one out in the fifth before Astros manager A.J. Hinch had seen enough. Fiers gave up nine hits, three walks and three runs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Altuve falls off his cycle: The Astros second baseman came up to bat in the sixth needing a triple for the cycle, and when Altuve shot a ball into the left-center-field gap, he was smelling it. Altuve (4-for-5) was heading into second at full speed when he slipped and wiped out on the base, settling for a double -- his fourth hit of the game. Altuve, who doubled in the first and homered in the second, couldn't help but smile as his teammates laughed in the dugout.
Alex Gordon returns: The Royals got back Gordon from a rehab assignment, and he promptly hit a home run, his fifth, and a double. Gordon was activated prior to the game. He had been on the disabled list with a broken bone near his right wrist.
Escape artists: The Astros kept the Royals out of range by wriggling out of bases-loaded jams in the fourth and fifth innings with minimal damage. Fiers got Gordon to ground out to end the fourth -- with a 9-6-5 double play earlier in the inning looming large -- and relieverMichael Feliz retired Alcides Escobar and Cheslor Cuthbert to end the fifth and strand the bases loaded.
Bullpen taxed again: For the second straight night, the Royals turned to their bullpen after a starter exited early. This time, after Young's departure, right-hander Peter Moylan came on to calm the storm. Moylan slowed the Astros down, giving up two runs in 2 2/3 innings.Chien-Ming Wang threw three innings of one-run relief before tiring in the ninth and giving up three more runs.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Astros scored at least 13 runs in consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 8-9, 2000.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With runners on first and third and one out in the second inning, Royals center fielderLorenzo Cain originally was called out on the back end of a double-play grounder. The Royals challenged, and the call was overturned, which led to Cuthbert, who had been on third, scoring.
WHAT'S NEXT
Astros: Right-hander Doug Fister (8-3, 3.21 ERA) starts on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. CT in the series finale at Kauffman Stadium looking to win his eighth consecutive decision. He's allowed three runs or fewer in 12 consecutive starts, and the Astros have won 10 games in a row in which he's started.
Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (5-6, 4.19) will take the mound in the series finale on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. CT. Kennedy gave up two solo homers over four innings in a 2-1 loss to the Mets last Tuesday.

O's rally on HRs to topple Rays in nightcap

The Orioles erased an early four-run deficit to take an 8-6 win in Saturday's nightcap at Camden Yards, earning a doubleheader sweep over a Rays team that has lost 10 consecutive games.
"Long day at the ballpark," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Long day for all of us. It gets longer when you lose a ballgame like that. I don't know if there's a ton to say other than we just came up short."
Jake Odorizzi started for the Rays and the Orioles chipped away at the right-hander, using home runs by Matt WietersAdam Jones, and Chris Davis to narrow the Rays' lead to 6-5.
Erasmo Ramirez took over for Odorizzi in the seventh and allowed the Orioles to tie the game on Jones' RBI single. When Manny Machado singled with one out to put runners on first and second, Xavier Cedeno entered the game to replace Ramirez. Davis greeted him with an RBI single that put the Orioles up 7-6.
"It doesn't matter if we're up early or down early," Wieters said. "We're going to play nine innings and see where we're at at the end."
The Orioles defeated the Rays, 5-0, in Game 1 behind Kevin Gausman's solid pitching performance. The right-hander retired 12 straight Rays batters from the fourth through the seventh innings en route to his second scoreless outing of the season and his first win. He allowed four hits and no walks while striking out seven in 7 2/3 innings.
"It's really hard to win both of a doubleheader," said right-hander Chris Tillman, who allowed six runs on 10 hits over five innings in Game 2. "Gausy threw the heck out of the ball in the first game and the offense and defense picked us up in the second game, so it was a good day."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Homer-happy: The Orioles entered Saturday with a Major League-leading 113 home runs on the season, but they went without a long ball in the first game of the doubleheader. They wouldn't be contained in the nightcap. Wieters blasted a two-run home run over the flag court in right field for his second career homer onto Eutaw Street (June 29, 2012). It is the third by an Oriole this season and 37th in Camden Yards history. He added another in the eighth for his first multi-homer game since Sept. 16, 2012. Jones drilled a homer into the left-field seats in the fifth and Davis hit a towering shot into the Orioles bullpen to lead off the sixth. The O's have 48 homers in June, which is eight shy of the Major League record set by Oakland in 1996.
"It always feels good to hit the barrel, so that's what I'm focusing on now," Wieters said. "It's just trying to hit the barrel as many times as possible. I was able to get a couple of pitches up and get them to go out."
Lo-Mo breaks drought: The Rays entered the nightcap of their day-night doubleheader riding a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings. All of that changed with a swing of Logan Morrison's bat in the first inning when he ripped a single down the right-field line to scoreLogan Forsythe, breaking the streak and giving the Rays a 1-0 lead.
Jones sprawls out: Already facing a 4-0 deficit and with the bases loaded, the Orioles desperately needed to get out of the third inning. Jaff Decker lined a ball that looked destined for the right-center gap, but center fielder Jones sprawled out for a diving catch to rob Decker of extra bases. The highlight-reel play saved at least two runs and kept the O's in the game to allow the offense a chance to mount its comeback.
"Huge play. It's like a double-play ball. That game can get away from you right there," manager Buck Showalter said. "Those are the type of split-second decisions these guys have to make at this level every night. But it's like I tell them all the time, you feel something, you've got to go for it. And if it doesn't work out, at least you don't wonder if I could have."
Fundamentals: Desmond Jennings did a nice job of setting up the Rays' sixth run when he put down a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt toward first base. That allowed Brad Miller to move to third with one out in the fifth. Oswaldo Arcia then drove him home with a sacrifice fly to center field.
QUOTABLE
"I'll take the blame for the loss today. I kind of left the bullpen out to dry. Just a bad game. It's a bad time for a bad game when the team is really scuffling and we had a lead." -- Odorizzi, on Saturday night's loss
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
After striking out eight-plus hitters in each of his previous three starts, Odorizzi only struck out one batter Saturday night. That matched his lowest strikeout total of the season, which was also one against the Orioles on April 26 at Tropicana Field.
The Orioles' rally helped Tillman avoid his first loss since April 14 and keep his winning streak at nine games with the no-decision.
UNDER REVIEW
The Rays challenged a call at second base in the top of the eighth when Nick Franklin was called out while trying to steal second. After a replay review, the call was overturned.
WHAT'S NEXT
Rays: Drew Smyly (2-7, 4.78 ERA) will make his 15th start Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET in Baltimore. He is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in four career appearances at Camden Yards. He is 1-2 with a 4.81 ERA in four daytime starts this season. In eight career appearances against the Orioles, he is 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA; he has not faced the Orioles this season.
Orioles: The O's will hand the ball to Tyler Wilson (3-5, 4.19 ERA) looking to complete a four-game sweep of the Rays. Wilson, who is making his second career start against the Rays, has recorded two straight quality starts. In his last time out against the Padres, he allowed three runs on nine hits in six innings.

Brewers hold on, hand Nats 7th straight loss

The Brewers jumped on Gio Gonzalez for six runs in the first three innings Saturday, and the Nationals' comeback fell just short as Milwaukee handed Washington its seventh consecutive loss, 6-5, on Negro League Tribute Day at Miller Park.
Chris Carter opened the scoring with a three-run homer in the first inning and the Brewers tacked on one run in the second and two more in the third off Gonzalez, whose struggles continued as he gave up all six runs on six hits in just three innings.
"We did another good job again against another quality starting pitcher," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We continue to do that, we continue to do a nice job against starters particularly early in the game."
Milwaukee starter Matt Garza allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks in six innings, but picked up his first win in his third start since returning from the 60-day DL. Jeremy Jeffress worked through the heart of the Nats' order, earning his 21st save as the Brewers clinched a series win and will go for a three-game sweep Sunday.
"That inning with [Bryce] Harper, [Daniel] Murphy and [Wilson] Ramos, that's probably one of the toughest innings in baseball right now, the way those guys are swinging it," Counsell said.
Trailing, 6-1, after three, the Nationals chipped away with two runs in the fourth and individual tallies in the sixth and seventh. They placed the go-ahead run on base in the seventh and the tying run in the eighth, but could not capitalize.
"We are playing good enough to win games," Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth said. "You go through these stretches from time to time. You try to minimize the damage. It's tough right now for us. We have to find a way to win [Sunday] and head home and get hot. It's too early in the season to get hung up on this too much, but we need to turn it around."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
President Carter: Carter hit his Major League-leading 14th home run at home with two outs in the first to put the Brewers out front, 3-0. Gonzalez left a 3-1 changeup up in the zone, and Carter crushed it 106 mph off the bat and 403 feet, according to Statcast™, into the left-field bleachers, for his team-leading 19th homer. Jonathan Villar and Aaron Hill, who led off the inning with consecutive singles, scored on the blast.
"That's why he's hitting in the middle of the order, to provide that instant offense," Counsell said. "He had a good at-bat, got into a hitter's count and took advantage of a changeup up in the zone." More >
Nats give themselves up: Washington matched a season high with three sacrifice flies. The runs were driven in by Clint RobinsonDanny Espinosa and Ryan Zimmerman. The Nats also had three against the Reds on June 14.
Gio continues to have problems: Gonzalez is on a seven-game winless streak. During that stretch, he is 0-6 with a 8.44 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings. Gonzalez's problems seem to start in the early innings and Saturday's game was no different. He was behind the 8-ball in the first after allowing the three-run homer by Carter.
"I have to do a better job of helping out our bullpen," Gonzalez said. That's a crappy job on my part. It's unfortunate the way it's going." More >
Insurance policy: Getting another start in right field with a left-hander on the mound, the Brewers' Hernan Perez came through in the third. Perez sliced a fastball on the outer half down the right-field line for a ground-rule double that scored Ryan Braun and put Milwaukee up, 5-1. On a slow roller by the next batter, Scooter Gennett, Carter beat Murphy's throw home for the Crew's final run.
"It's great scoring early in the game against those pitchers who are great, have been great in their careers," Perez said. "It's important for us now. We have a plan, we're always going to make them work and not make it easy for them."
QUOTABLE
"My mother told me there would be days like this, but I haven't had one in a long time. So it's time for us to tighten our belt and come together. [Losing streaks] like this make you come together as a unit. Someday you will look back on it and see that it is something that unified us. It's time to circle the wagons and pull for each other." -- Washington manager Dusty Baker
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
When Gonzalez hit Braun and Carter in the third, it was the first time all season that two Brewers were hit by a pitch in the same frame. Milwaukee entered the day having only been hit 11 times, the lowest total in the Majors. It was also Gonzalez's second time hitting two batters in one inning, with the other occurrence coming Sept. 8, 2008.
Espinosa bookended his day at the plate with two walks and drove in runs with a sac bunt and sac fly during his two other plate appearances. He is only the 18th player since at least 1913 to make four plate appearances and drive in two runs without an at-bat. He's just the third player to accomplish the feat since 2000. More >
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Braun was called out at home plate on a throw from Bryce Harper to end the seventh, but Counsell called for a challenge. After the review, the call that Braun did not slide under catcher Wilson Ramos' tag was confirmed. Washington threw out two Brewers at the plate, with the other assist coming from Werth to nab Villar to end the second.
WHAT'S NEXT
Nationals: With Stephen Strasburg (back) scratched, it means Tanner Roark will start Sunday against the Brewers at 2:10 p.m. ET. Because of the off-day Thursday, Roark is able to take his turn. He last pitched Tuesday in a 3-2 loss to the Dodgers. More >
Brewers: Jimmy Nelson takes the mound in Sunday's series finale at 1:10 p.m. CT as Milwaukee goes for a three-game sweep. Despite leading the Brewers in quality starts, he does not have one since May 29 and owns a 7.50 ERA over his past four starts.