Baseball / Sports

Nationals chase Brewers' Garza after one out en route to 8-3 win

WASHINGTON -- It was a long inning for Matt Garza but a short night.

In the shortest outing of his career, Garza was able to record just one out Saturday night as the Washington Nationals scored five times in the first inning and cruised to an 8-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The loss allowed the St. Louis Cardinals to pull into a tie for first place with the Brewers in the National League Central. The Brewers have had at least a share of first every day since April 5.

The poor outing by Garza was difficult to see coming after he finished the first half in strong fashion. In his final eight starts before the all-star break, he posted a 2.35 ERA, including a serious flirtation with a no-hitter.

While Garza was done early, Washington starter Tanner Roark stuck around and prospered. Roark went seven innings, allowing only six hits and one run with a walk and five strikeouts.

It wasn't Garza's night from the very outset. Denard Span led off the bottom of the first by dumping a single down the right-field line, out of the reach of Ryan Braun.

After Garza recorded his only out by whiffing Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth punched a double down the right-field line, also out of Braun's reach, to put runners on second and third. Adam LaRoche then worked Garza for a walk to load the bases.

Ryan Zimmerman grounded a ball up the middle for a single that scored two runs, and Bryce Harper worked Garza for an eight-pitch walk to reload the bases. Ian Desmond tapped a grounder toward short for an RBI infield hit, and Wilson Ramos followed with a two-run single to center.

That was it for Garza, who threw 42 pitches before departing.

The Brewers got one of the runs back in the second inning, thanks to a surprise steal of third base by Jonathan Lucroy, who doubled with one down. When Lucroy took off for third, Ramos threw the ball into left field, allowing the run to score.

With one down in the bottom of the third, Harper sliced a drive down the left-field line off Marco Estrada that eluded sliding Khris Davis for a double. Desmond flied out to right but Ramos stroked a single to left to score Harper and make it 6-1.

The Nationals' lead continued to grow in the fourth. With two down, Estrada issued back-to-back walks to Werth and LaRoche, and Zimmerman made him pay with a run-scoring single to center.

Washington added another run to its lead in the sixth when Rendon singled, Werth doubled and LaRoche sent a sacrifice fly to left.

After Roark departed, the Brewers finally put some more runs on the board when Braun blasted a two-run homer in the eighth off reliever Jerry Blevins.

(c)2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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