Nats rally to edge Brewers in 11 innings
Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Michael Morse clubbed a game-tying, two-run homer in the ninth to send the game to extras, and then ripped a go-ahead, two-run double in the 11th as the Nationals took a thrilling 11-10 victory over the Brewers in the finale of a four-game set Sunday at Miller Park.
Washington trailed 7-3 heading into the eighth, but used a four-run frame to tie the game. Milwaukee countered in the bottom half as Norichika Aoki and Carlos Gomez stroked back-to-back homers to make it a two-run game, but Morse launched a one-out, two-run shot over the wall in right to tie the game again in the ninth.
In the 11th, Jose Veras (3-4) issued a leadoff walk to Bryce Harper, who then went first-to-third on a single into right field from Ryan Zimmerman.
After Mark DeRosa fanned, Morse pulled a double down the left-field line to plate Harper and Zimmerman as the Nationals grabbed a two-run lead.
Tyler Clippard worked around a leadoff homer from Corey Hart in the 11th to nail down his 20th save of the season, while Craig Stammen (4-1) earned the victory after tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.
Roger Bernadina smacked a two-run homer as part of Washington's four-run eighth inning as the Nationals won for the eighth time in their last nine contests.
"Every game is the most important game," said Washington manager Davey Johnson. "I never worry about things. I have no control over it. I have a good ball club and I expect them to play good. If we play like we're capable of playing I won't worry about things."
Rickie Weeks belted a two-run shot and Hart finished with four hits and scored three times for the Brewers, who lost for the ninth time in their last 10 games.
Mark Rogers made his first start in nearly two years for the Brewers after being recalled from Triple-A Nashville to start for Zack Greinke, who was shipped to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.
Roger's return got off to a rocky start as Steve Lombardozzi crushed the fifth pitch of the game over the right-field wall to give Washington a 1-0 lead.
The Brewers loaded the bases in the bottom half and Jonathan Lucroy then earned a free pass on five pitches to tie the game.
Cody Ransom slapped the next pitch back to the mound, but it snuck under Washington starter Gio Gonzalez's glove, allowing Hart to score as the Brewers took a 2-1 edge.
Milwaukee added to its lead in the third as Ryan Braun coaxed a leadoff walk before Hart ripped a line-drive base hit to left. Braun moved to third on the play and alertly took home as the Nationals caught Hart in a rundown between first and second base to provide the home team with a 3-1 lead.
The Nationals trimmed the margin in the sixth as Tyler Moore plated Zimmerman, who doubled to start the frame, with a two-bagger of his own, but the Brewers responded in the bottom half as Lucroy singled and Ransom walked before both runners advanced on a bunt from Cesar Izturis.
Pinch-hitter Aramis Ramirez was then intentionally walked to load the bases and Aoki followed with a suicide-squeeze attempt. Gonzalez fielded the bunt and fired to first, but his throw pulled Lombardozzi off the first-base bag, allowing Lucroy to score and keeping the bases loaded.
Gomez then plated Ransom with a sacrifice fly to center before Gonzalez fanned Braun to end the frame with the Brewers holding a 5-2 lead.
Zimmerman's double-play groundout plated a run in the seventh, but Weeks' two- run homer in the bottom half extended the margin to 7-3.
Bernadina's third homer of the year cut the deficit to just two in the eighth before Jesus Flores singled and John Axford served up a double to Corey Brown.
Lombardozzi then grounded out to second to plate Flores before Axford uncorked a wild pitch and Brown scampered home from the third to knot the game at 7-7.
"We battled to the end but we just didn't pitch well enough out of the bullpen again," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.
Gonzalez was charged with five runs -- four earned -- on five hits and five walks over six frames....The Nationals unconditionally released infielder/outfielder Xavier Nady before the game...Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche left the game in the middle of the 4th inning with back tightness...Rogers surrendered just two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out a career-high seven batters over 5 2/3 innings. His last start came on October 1, 2010 against Cincinnati...Before the game the Brewers acquired pitcher Fautino De Los Santos from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for catcher George Kottaras.