The Brewers entered Wednesday as one of two teams in baseball that haven’t been swept this season, the other being the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Having lost the first two games of the series with the Washington Nationals that streak was in jeopardy as the Brewers sent Marco Estrada (6-4, 5.22 ERA) to take on Stephen Strasburg (6-5, 3.24 ERA) with Jonathan Lucroy, Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez all taking the day off.
It all went according to plan for manager Ron Roenicke as the Brewers smacked Strasburg around, knocking him out of the game in the fifth inning and rolling to a 9-2 win in a game where every starting position player had a hit.
Estrada worked through the first inning without any damage, despite a long, loud, fly ball out by lead off hitter Denard Span. Strasburg worked around a Gomez single and stolen base in the bottom half of the inning.
Adam LaRoche led off the second with a walk and Anthony Rendon walked to put two on for Ian Desmond. Desmond bounced to Scooter Gennett who tossed to Jean Segura for the out on Rendon, but they couldn’t turn two putting runners at the corners. Desmond stole second with Nate McLouth batting.
McLouth bounced to Overbay at first, and his throw home on LaRoche wasn’t even close, putting the Nationals on top 1-0. McLouth was caught stealing on a nice throw by Martin Maldonado for the second out. Sandy Leon struck out to end the inning.
Mark Reynolds led off the bottom of the second with a single off Strasburg. Two batters later Elian Herrera doubled to move Reynolds to third with just one out. Strasburg walked Maldonado to load the bases for Estrada.
Estrada, thankfully, struck out (rather than ground into a double play) to bring up Scooter Gennett who promptly crushed a Strasburg fastball over the wall in center for a grand slam, and 4-1 lead for the Brewers.
Four runs on one swing of the bat by Gennett was double what the Brewers scored in the previous two games (25 innings). Jean Segura followed with a single but was caught stealing to end the inning.
Estrada and Strasburg both cruised through he third inning without any damage.
Estrada opened the fourth by walking Zimmerman, and moving him to second with a wild pitch. LaRoche lined out to Gomez for the first out and Rendon struck out for the second. Desmond lined a double to center to bring in Desmond and cut the lead to 4-2.
Despite the two runs scored, that was Washington’s first hit. McLouth struck out to end the inning.
Khris Davis led off the bottom of the fourth by crushing a Strasburg fastball out to left center for his 14th home run of the season. Strasburg put Herrera, Maldonado and Estrada in order to finish the inning.
Estrada worked a one-two-three fifth inning for the Crew. Strasburg quickly put down Gennett and Segura in the bottom of the fifth before a Gomez triple off the wall in left-center.
Overbay and Reynolds followed with walks to load the bases for Davis. Davis took a mighty hack on a 2-0 fastball, and lobbed a soft fly to right that dropped in to drive in Gomez and Overbay and move Reynolds to third.
The final line on Strasburg was 4 2/3 innings pitched, allowing seven runs on eight hits and three walks. He struck out only two.
Estrada returned to the hill for the sixth inning and downed Frandsen, Zimmerman and LaRoche in order.
Hill returned to the mound for the bottom of the sixth for the Nationals. Maldonado led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice by Estrada. Gennett followed with an RBI single to left to bring in Maldonado and advanced to second on the throw.
Segura followed with a bouncer back to the mound for the second out, but he moved Gennett to third. Gomez drove in Gennett with a check-swing ground ball down the third base line.
Overbay knocked a single to left center, moving Gomez to third and putting runners on the corners. Reynolds walked to load the bases, but they would be left stranded after Davis struck out to end the inning.
Estrada went back out for the seventh inning, just the third time this season he pitched into the seventh inning. Rendon opened with a ground out. Desmond singled for the first Nationals hit since the fourth inning.
McLouth walked to put two on and end the day for Estrada. Roenicke called for Brandon Kintzler. Kintzler struck out Leon and Hill grounded out to end the inning.
The final line on Estrada was 6 1/3 innings allowing just two runs on two hits and four walks. He also struck out four. It was just the second time in 16 starts this season he didn’t allow a home run.
Hill, back out for the bottom of the seventh, quickly put down Herrera, Maldonado and pinch-hitter, Rickie Weeks.
Alfredo Figardo, fresh from Nashville, came on to toss the eighth for the Crew, facing the top of the Nationals order. He put them down in order.
Hill pitched the eighth for the Nationals as well. He got Gennett to ground out before a Segura single. Gomez was hit by a pitch to put two on for the Crew. Overbay grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Figaro stayed out for the ninth and quickly got LaRoche to bounce out for the first out. Rendon and Desmond went down quickly to end the game with a 9-2 Brewers win.
Estrada got the win for Milwaukee, Strasburg the loss for Washington. The Brewers will play host to the Colorado Rockies for a four-game series starting Wednesday.