- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 4, 2006

MILWAUKEE — Brian Schneider, who hasn’t hit well of late, had one of the biggest hits of his career last night.

Schneider hit a game-winning two-run homer in the ninth inning to rally the Washington Nationals past the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 before a sellout crowd of 40,392 at Miller Park.

Schneider’s second home run of the season came off Brewers closer Derrick Turnbow with rookie Ryan Zimmerman on third base. The win gave the Nationals (24-32) their fourth series win in their last five. It was the seventh straight loss for the Brewers.

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“Right there, my job was to get Zimmerman in and that’s it,” Schneider said. “I was looking for a ball up there and the ball was definitely up. I just tried to hit the ball hard somewhere. I knew when I hit it. I at least got the job done. Obviously, when you hit a home run there, it’s definitely a bonus.”

Until Schneider came through with one out in the ninth, the Brewers were in control. Milwaukee starter Doug Davis matched his career high with 11 strikeouts, marking his second career 10-strikeout game.

“He was good. He’s a guy that gets a lot of strikeouts with his deception,” Nationals shortstop Royce Clayton said.

In his major league debut, left-hander Bill Bray (1-0) picked up the win throwing just one pitch — a ball outside. However, Schneider used the pitch to throw out Corey Koskie on an attempted steal in the eighth.

“That would be the first,” Bray said of winning a game on one pitch without retiring a batter. “I don’t have too much to say other than Schneider hit a rocket to right field and I was in the right place at the right time.”

Closer Chad Cordero pitched a scoreless ninth for his ninth save of the season.

Nationals rookie starter Mike O’Connor had an up-and-down game. He struggled with his control early. O’Connor had a no-hitter into the fourth inning but also walked a season-high six batters.

He allowed only three hits but also allowed three runs. He matched his season-high with six strikeouts but received a no-decision.

Nationals manager Frank Robinson said O’Connor gave up too many walks.

“Too many pitches outside the strike zone,” Robinson said. “Clubs will take advantage of that when you put that many men out there on base for free. It didn’t happen tonight.”

Brewers center fielder Brady Clark delivered a two-run, two-out, single to left field in the sixth inning off Nationals reliever Saul Rivera. A bizarre stoppage in play set up Clark’s big hit. Rivera threw one pitch — a ball — when play was halted for an estimated 15 minutes because the Nationals infielders were affected by white signage behind home plate and couldn’t see the ball leave the Brewers’ bats.

It was O’Connor’s keen eye at the plate that led to the game’s first run. With two outs, Davis walked O’Connor on four straight pitches. That brought up Nationals high-powered leadoff man Alfonso Soriano. Soriano didn’t make Davis pay the ultimate price by hitting one out of the park, but he kept the third inning alive with a bloop single to shallow right field, which allowed O’Connor to reach third base.

Royce Clayton, whose bat has come to life since he was inserted in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, hit a corkscrew flare just out of the reach of Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks that settled a few yards outside the infield in right field to score O’Connor and give the Nationals a 1-0 lead.

Got a question about the Nats? Mark Zuckerman has the answers. To

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