Nats find offense, tie series against Brewers

Nats find offense, tie series against Brewers

WASHINGTON -- Rookie right-hander Joe Ross found himself in control on the mound and helped the Nationals get back to the .500 mark by defeating the Brewers, 6-1, at Nationals Park on Saturday night.

"Where we are at, they are all going to be important wins," Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth said. "We know what's at stake and where we are at."

Ross went seven innings for the first time since June 19 and allowed one run on Khris Davis' seventh-inning home run, while Blake Treinen and Matt Thornton blanked Milwaukee the rest of the way for the Nationals, who moved to 61-61.

Ross' solid outing

"He's been one of our toughest matchups this year," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said, referring to Ross. "He reminds me of [Brewers starter] Jimmy Nelson, really -- a young pitcher who seems to be getting better as the season goes along. He's got a very good slider. He gave us trouble."

Right-hander Taylor Jungmann started for Milwaukee and lasted four innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, including Michael Taylor's home run, snapping a homerless streak that spanned Jungmann's previous 52 2/3 innings. He left the game after allowing three runs in the fourth inning.

Must C: Rendon's diving catch

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Taylor made, Rendon back on track: Taylor led the hitting assault, going 2-for-3 with a walk and two-run homer over the right-center-field wall to give Washington a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Taylor has homered in three straight games. After coming off the disabled list, Rendon was in a 17-for-85 slump [.200] prior to Saturday's game. He appears to be getting out of it, going 2-for-2 with two walks and a solo homer over the left-center-field wall in the seventh.

Rendon's solo homer

Star it in the scorebook: Shane Peterson grew up playing first base, moved to the corner-outfield spots as a pro because he doesn't hit for much power, and is manning center field for the Brewers these days because the team traded away Gold Glovers Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra. Peterson certainly looked the part in the first inning, when he made a diving catch of Bryce Harper's line drive to the left-center-field gap, then popped up and threw a strike to third to catch Werth trying to tag up. The double play helped Jungmann get out of a two-on, no-out jam.

"Bryce hit the ball so hard. At first, I thought it was down," Werth said. "Then when [Peterson] dove, it was kind of a no-brainer. I was going to go. There was nobody out there, you might be aggressive. If there are two outs or one out, you are halfway, you don't move up. In that instance, it was a pretty good play. It didn't work out for us. It kind of killed the inning." More >

Peterson's diving catch

Ross has his way with Brewers: Ross dominated Milwaukee for the second time in his career. He pitched seven innings, allowed one run on six hits and struck out four batters. It helped that he used his changeup and inside fastball frequently to the Brewers hitters.

"I didn't use it a ton, but I definitely threw it more than I have the last few games," Ross said. [The inside fastball] gets them from being comfortable being over the plate. If you pound them away throughout the game, I think they can kind of sit on it and start hitting the ball around."

There was no better example of how the Brewers feel about batting against Ross than when Milwaukee's best hitter, Ryan Braun, tried to bunt for a hit leading off the fourth inning. Ross fielded the chance easily.

"Ryan, who handles a lot of pretty good pitchers, had a tough time with him tonight," Counsell said.

Williams on Ross, Nats' 6-1 win

Still Khrushing: Davis has hit eight of his 15 home runs this season in his last 15 games, including a seventh-inning solo shot off Ross that put the Brewers on the board. Davis has accounted for eight of the Brewers' 14 home runs since Aug. 6, a span in which Braun (three) is the only other Brewer with multiple homers. More >

Davis' solo homer

QUOTABLE
"He's got a great slider, and so does his brother. He's just like his brother. It's hard for me to rank it, but it's a great slider." -- Davis, on Ross, the younger brother of Padres righty and 2014 All-Star Tyson Ross

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Since moving to the leadoff spot, Werth is 7-for-22 [.318] with three RBIs and three runs scored in his last five games.

Werth's RBI single

WHAT'S NEXT
Brewers: Matt Garza will look to avoid being the second Major Leaguer to reach 14 losses when he takes the mound for Sunday's 12:35 p.m. CT series finale at Nationals Park. Garza has pitched better since a brief stint on the disabled list for a sore shoulder (3.44 ERA in six starts since returning) but is coming off a loss to the Marlins in which he surrendered five earned runs and eight hits in five innings.

Nationals: Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound for Washington on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET. In six career starts against Milwaukee, Zimmermann is 4-1 with a 3.71 ERA, having struck out 36 in 34 innings.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.