Taylor, Turner help Nationals edge Brewers 3-2
MILWAUKEE — Josh Hader is quickly learning life as a big league reliever has its ups and downs, sometimes as quickly as in consecutive games.
One night after Washington couldn’t touch the rookie left-hander in a one-run game, the Nationals rallied with two runs against Hader in the eighth inning for a 3-2 win on Saturday.
Michael A. Taylor hit the first pitch he saw from Hader (1-2) for a solo home run to tie the score at 2 in the eighth. Pinch hitter Wilmer Difo bunted for a base hit and came around to score on a double by Trea Turner.
“Any time you see people more and more, the advantage goes your way a little bit more,” Turner said. “Not to say you are going to get a hit the second time you face him as opposed to the first. You just gather information. He made some good pitches last night and tonight we got some good pitches in the zone and hit them hard.”
Hader, a natural starter pitching in relief, was pitching on consecutive days for just the second time in his career.
“Josh is going to be out there again and there’s a good chance he’s going to be out there back-to-back again, and he’s going to do well,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He has 30-some innings in and he’s dominated hitters.
“He’s going to be a big part of this going forward. He’s going to be a really important guy for us. Tonight just wasn’t his night. He’s been really close to perfect so far.”
Ryan Madson (5-4) posted the win in relief by pitching a scoreless seventh inning in his first outing since Aug. 12.
With the tying run on first base, closer Sean Doolittle got pinch hitter Manny Pina to fly out to Taylor at the base of the wall in the deepest part of the ballpark in center field to end the game.
“I hit it, man,” Pina said. “I said, ‘yes.’ That ball has got to go. ... When the roof is closed, the ball, the ball doesn’t carry anywhere. When it is open, you hit the ball, you know it’s a homer in any park. But I hit it well.”
Max Scherzer lasted only five innings and 75 pitches after being struck on the left leg by a line drive hit by Travis Shaw in the first inning. The right-hander, who was clearly bothered by his plant leg, limited the Brewers to one run and two hits.
“It tightened up in the second (inning),” Scherzer said. “I could pitch on it, but I couldn’t run. I could feel in my mechanics that I was still getting through the ball so I knew I wasn’t in danger of hurting my arm.”
Brewers rookie starter Brandon Woodruff, making his fourth career start and his first in the big leagues since Aug. 19, held the Nationals to one run and two hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in seven innings.
The Brewers broke a 1-1 tie with a two-out run in the sixth against Nationals reliever Oliver Perez.
After Neil Walker drew a walk, Stephen Vogt hit a chopper that just cleared the head of first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and was deflected by second baseman Daniel Murphy. Walker scampered to third and continued home when right fielder Jayson Werth misplayed the ball.
Washington struck first to take a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Howie Kendrick drew a leadoff walk from Woodruff, stole second base, moved to third on a single by Murphy and scored on Zimmerman’s single.
The Brewers immediately answered against Scherzer as Eric Sogard led off the bottom half with a single and scored on an RBI double by Eric Thames.
Scherzer limited the damage to one run by getting Vogt to pop out to the catcher and Jonathan Villar to fly out to left field with two runners on.
NOTES: Milwaukee will start LHP Brent Suter in the series finale against the Nationals on Sunday. Suter takes the rotation spot of struggling RHP Matt Garza. ... Brewers C Manny Pina reported feeling fine after going through a series of catching drills before the game. Pina was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game because of a right hip injury. ... Nationals C Matt Wieters was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game after taking a foul ball off the right knee Thursday. He entered in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement. ... Milwaukee started eight left-handed batters against Max Scherzer. Right-handers entered hitting only .126 against Scherzer this season. ... Brewers LF Ryan Braun received the night off as he was 0-for-13 lifetime against Scherzer.