MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers desperately needed a strong outing from starter Jhoulys Chacin on Monday night as they looked to get back on the winning track. The team’s most reliable starter this season delivered again.
Chacin (9-3) limited the Washington Nationals to one run and two hits in 5 2/3 innings to help lead the Brewers to a 6-1 win. Milwaukee has won just twice in 10 games.
Chacin’s impressive start came a day after the Brewers used backup catcher Erik Kratz and utility player Hernan Perez in mop-up roles on the mound in an 11-2 drubbing by the Dodgers. Chacin struck out a season-high nine batters and didn’t issue a walk for the second consecutive game.
“He’s done a heck of a job for us this year,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “Coming off back-to-back games with three and four innings from our starters, it was much needed.”
Chacin had command of his slider and fastball throughout the game.
“Every time I throw strikes and keep the ball down, I feel I have a good game,” Chacin said. “I feel like my slider was really good. I was able to control it and change the speed, too. And I was throwing it for strikes.”
Christian Yelich had a base-loaded triple and eighth batter Erik Kratz drove in a pair of runs for the Brewers, who pulled within 2½ games of NL Central leading Chicago, which lost to Arizona 7-1.
“It’s not the top of the order that’s going to do it every night. We can’t always lean on those guys,” Kratz said.
The Brewers also learned on Monday that starting pitcher Brent Suter would be lost for the season with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Suter left Sunday’s game after three innings when he felt pain. He will have Tommy John surgery.
The Nationals scored first when Daniel Murphy lined a home run to right field leading off the second against Chacin.
The Brewers evened the score in the second on Kratz’s sacrifice fly off Washington starter Gio Gonzalez (6-7).
Kratz drove in another run in the fourth with a bases-loaded groundout. Chacin followed with a single to left to drive in his first run of the season.
Hot-hitting Yelich lined a triple off Gonzalez into the right-field corner with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth to extend the lead to 6-1.
“He’s such a pure hitter. I think the (All-Star) break did him good,” Counsell said.
Two Brewers batters drew bases on balls in the inning before Yelich’s hit. “I just can’t walk people. I’ve got to go out there and be more aggressive,” Gonzalez said.
Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long was ejected in the second inning after shouting from the dugout at plate umpire Nic Lentz, who had just called out Trea Turner on strikes.
In the fourth, Turner failed to run out of the batter’s box after a pitch from Chacin hit his bat and landed in fair territory. That didn’t sit well with manager Dave Martinez. “I actually thought the ball hit him in the hand. (The umpire) said he bunted the ball. I was like, well why would he walk off the field? In that moment, we are trying to win a ball game. There’s a good chance he won’t play tomorrow.” Turner said he put the bat up in “self-defense” because he thought he was going to get hit by the pitch. “I then ended up bunting it fair somehow. By the time I got my feet underneath me, the pitcher was already standing right there. I probably should have ran to first.”
Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) got his first start since being activated from the disabled list on Friday. Zimmerman got hit in the lower back with a pitch from Chacin in the sixth but remained in the game.
Brewers: Recalled RHP Jorge Lopez from Triple-A Colorado Springs to replace Suter. … All-Star 1B Jesus Aguilar didn’t start for the second consecutive game due to hamstring soreness. “There’s enough soreness that we’re going to be cautious and hold him out today,” manager Craig Counsell said. … 1B/OF Eric Thames (right hamstring soreness) could come off the DL as early as Tuesday. … RHP Zach Davies (right shoulder tightness) threw live batting practice on Monday and is expected to make a rehab start with Class A Wisconsin on Thursday.
Nationals: Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 3.29 ERA) has allowed one earned run spanning 11 innings over his last two starts. Opponents are hitting .111 (4-for-36) during that stretch.
Brewers: Junior Guerra (6-6, 3.23), who has been on the disabled list since July 14 with right forearm tightness, will be activated and get the start. Guerra is 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA in two career games (one start) against the Nationals.
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)