Nats top Brewers, 2-1, in opener: Five straight Ws

washington nationalsAnthony Rendon hit a pair of RBI doubles, including one breaking a 1-1 tie in the eighth, lifting the Washington Nationals to a 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers Friday night.

The win, coupled with Atlanta losing 8-3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers, gets the Nats (66-55) to four and a half games back of the Braves (72-52) in the NL East.

Washington also solidifies its lead atop the NL wild-card standings, two and a half games ahead of the pack for the first spot in the wild card.

In this one Friday night at Nats Park, Patrick Corbin and Adrian Houser dueled early. Corbin went six innings for the Nationals, scattering seven hits and allowing one run, striking out eight and walking four.

Houser went seven innings, allowing a run on two hits, striking out four and walking two.

It came down to the bullpens, and Washington’s, beleaguered of late, won the matchup.

The trio of Daniel Hudson, Hunter Strickland and Sean Doolittle blanked the Brewers over the final three innings, allowing two hits and walking one.

The offense turned a leadoff walk to Trea Turner, a sacrifice bunt from Adam Eaton that advanced Turner to second, and then an RBI double from Rendon, into the game-winner.

Rendon’s other RBI double, in the third, also plated Turner, who had reached after being hit by a Houser pitch, then stole second.

Rendon is hitting .320 with 94 RBIs on the season, and an OPS of 1.008, all top 10 figures in the NL.

Notes: Max Scherzer won’t be starting this weekend after all. There had been speculation that he would be back in the starting rotation as early as Saturday’s game, but Nats manager Davey Martinez said today that Scherzer will pitch another simulated game on Saturday, with the goal of getting the ace’s endurance to the 75-80 pitch range. Scherzer (9-5, 2.41 ERA) had a historic month of June, winning all six of his starts, but he has made only one start in the past six weeks, while dealing with a mild rhomboid strain.

Story by Chris Graham

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