Nelson earned his first career victory in his season debut Sunday, pitching 5 2-3 scoreless innings in a spot start to beat the Miami Marlins 7-1.
“He was really impressive - dominant stuff,” teammate Ryan Braun said. “A guy who’s that good, you know you’ll see him again soon.”
Rated the Brewers‘ top prospect, Nelson was recalled to start for Yovani Gallardo, who is nursing a sore left ankle. Nelson allowed five hits and three walks, but Miami went 0 for 7 against the 6-foot-5 right-hander with runners in scoring position.
“He’s got really good stuff,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “He let a lot of balls get away from him, but he made some great pitches when he needed to and threw some great sliders. With him it’s just going to be a matter of trying to command the ball, and not let so many balls get up and away from him.”
It helped the rookie that he had a 5-0 lead before taking the mound in the second inning. Braun led the way with four hits, including a double and a triple. The Brewers‘ slugger, who has been nursing a sore right side, came into the game 5 for 27 on their trip.
Jonathan Lucroy had two doubles and a triple to hike his average to .331. Khris Davis doubled twice for the Brewers, who totaled 14 hits, seven for extra bases.
Marcell Ozuna broke up the shutout by hitting his ninth homer in the ninth off Francisco Rodriguez.
Miami’s Randy Wolf (0-1) made his first start since September 2012 and was treated harshly. The 37-year-old left-hander, who is trying to come back from the second Tommy John surgery of his career, gave up nine hits and six runs - four earned - in five innings.
“This is not the first time I’ve had a bad game,” Wolf said. “The only thing I can take out of this game is that things got better as the game went on.”
Wolf was filling in for ace Jose Fernandez, sidelined earlier this month by a season-ending elbow injury.
NL Central leader Milwaukee won two of three games in the series and improved to 18-6 against the Marlins since the start of 2011.
Nelson hit 94 mph on the radar gun and was at his best pitching from the stretch. He loaded the bases in the fifth but escaped by retiring Derek Dietrich and Giancarlo Stanton.