Nationals exploit errors in 9th inning, for one-run win over Brewers in series finale
WASHINGTON (AP) — Corey Dickerson and Ildemaro Vargas scored on third baseman Andruw Monasterio’s throwing error in the ninth inning, and the Washington Nationals rallied off Milwaukee closer Devin Williams to earn a 3-2 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday in the finale of a three-game series.
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Milwaukee, which began the day a half-game behind Cincinnati in the NL Central and is in a crowded race for a wild card, lost five of six on its road trip to Atlanta and Washington. The Brewers managed only four hits and have not won consecutive games since July 19-20.
“I don’t think we played well enough to win today,” manager Craig Counsell said. “We did very little offensively and then we played poor defense in the last inning. That’s going to get you beat.”
Washington has won nine of its last 11 at home.
With the bases loaded and the infield drawn in, Alex Call hit a sharp grounder to Monasterio, whose throw home sailed wide of catcher William Conteras. Dickerson scored easily, and Vargas — pinch-running for Dominic Smith — scampered home for the winning run.
“I saw the guys running out and they were telling me ‘Come on, come on,’ waving me in,” Vargas said through an interpreter. “It feels like winter ball. That’s the kind of feeling and the excitement out there.”
The Nationals hadn’t gotten a man past first base since the fourth inning when Williams (5-3) entered to attempt to earn his second save in as many days. Dickerson opened the inning by reaching on first baseman Carlos Santana’s fielding error. Smith followed with a single and Keibert Ruiz then walked to set up Call’s plate appearance.
“We were trying to get the ball up, and they did a great job trying to do that,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “With two strikes, you have to go up there and battle, and we did a really good job of trying to get the ball up, up in the zone. Granted, we didn’t hit the ball very hard, but we put the ball in play.”
Kyle Finnegan (5-3) worked a 1-2-3 ninth for Washington.
Washington starter MacKenzie Gore retired 14 of the first 15 batters he faced. The exception was Tyrone Taylor, who blasted a two-out shot to left in the second to open the scoring.
Washington tied it in the third when Call led off with a double off Milwaukee starter Wade Miley and scored on Jake Alu’s first-pitch single to center. Miley loaded the bases in the fourth but struck out Call with two outs to end the threat.
Miley, pitching for the first time since July 9, allowed a run and struck out five over four innings. He had been out with left elbow discomfort and was activated from the injured list earlier in the day.
“Getting four innings out of him was what we were hoping,” Counsell said. “It was a nice first step for him.”
The Brewers went ahead 2-1 in the sixth inning on Christian Yelich’s RBI double after Milwaukee got the first two batters on. Gore then struck out the next three to strand two runners in scoring position.
Gore surrendered two runs and three hits in six innings while striking out five.
Brewers: Milwaukee optioned INF/OF Owen Miller to Triple-A Nashville to make room on the roster for Miley. Miller hit .264 with five homers and 27 RBIs.
Nationals: Washington activated LHP Robert Garcia and optioned RHP Hobie Harris to Triple-A Rochester. The Nationals claimed Garcia off waivers from Miami on Tuesday. Harris pitched a scoreless eighth inning Tuesday during his two-day return to the majors and has a 5.12 ERA in 16 games this season.
POSTGAME ROSTER SHAKEUP
After the game, Washington requested unconditional release waivers for Dickerson and optioned 2B Luis García to Rochester. Dickerson hit .250 with two homers and 17 RBIs in 50 games. García hit .259 with six homers and 42 RBIs and had started 94 of Washington’s 109 games at second base.
Brewers: RHP Adrian Houser (3-3, 4.43 ERA) starts Thursday against Pittsburgh RHP Mitch Keller (9-7, 3.97) as Milwaukee returns home to begin a four-game series.
Nationals: After Thursday’s off day, LHP Patrick Corbin (7-11, 5.07) starts the opener of a three-game series Friday at Cincinnati against RHP Graham Ashcroft (6-7, 5.31).
TOP PHOTO: FILE – A Milwaukee Brewers mascot cheers in the empty stands during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)