- Associated Press - Sunday, August 23, 2015

Washington Nationals outfielder Michael A. Taylor said he’s been focusing lately on making contact at the plate rather than crushing baseballs.

Lately, he’s also been crushing baseballs.

Taylor hit a home run for the third consecutive game, rookie Joe Ross allowed one run in seven innings and the Nationals beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-1, on Saturday night.

Taylor connected on a two-run shot for Washington, which had lost eight of 10 and began play five games behind the New York Mets in the National League East.

“It’s funny how it works, I guess,” Taylor said of his recent approach and success.

“Just try to stay quiet and don’t let things speed up. Go up there and have a good at-bat instead of trying to hunt for the results.”

The 24-year-old has played in 107 games this season due to injuries to Jayson Werth and Denard Span.

Taylor is hitting .244, including 4-for-11 in his last three games, with 13 home runs and 55 RBI.

Anthony Rendon hit a home run and doubled to drive in two runs for Washington.

Ross (4-5), 0-2 with a 9.35 ERA in his two previous starts, gave up six hits, struck out four and didn’t walk a batter in defeating Milwaukee for the second time.

“Used my changeup a lot more today,” Ross said. “I didn’t throw it a ton, but definitely threw it more than I have the past few games.”

Wilson Ramos doubled, singled and scored twice for the Nationals, who had 11 hits.

Khris Davis hit his 15th home run leading off the seventh for the Brewers. It was Davis’ eighth home run in his last 15 games.

Milwaukee rookie right-hander Taylor Jungmann (7-5) endured his worst outing of the season. He lasted four innings, allowing a season-high five runs on seven hits.

“It was one of those games where I felt like I was going to have to battle a little bit,” Jungmann said. “I just really never got into a rhythm.”

Milwaukee’s defense helped Jungmann out of trouble in the first, but in the second, Ramos singled with two outs. Taylor followed by slicing a 2-1 pitch into the right-center field seats.

Jungmann had gone eight consecutive starts without allowing a home run.

The Nationals added three runs more in the fourth on RBI hits by Ramos, Werth and Rendon.

Werth had two hits after originally being scheduled for a day off.

Rendon hit a home run into the Nationals’ bullpen in the seventh and also walked twice.

Third baseman Yunel Escobar, who left Friday night’s game with a hyperextended neck after a collision while trying to catch a foul ball, was not in the lineup. “He’s a little sore today, to be expected,” manager Matt Williams said.

Bryce Harper singled in the seventh. He’s reached base in 44 of his last 47 games and in 105 of the 115 he’s played this season. Harper has 90 walks to go along with his NL-leading 31 home runs.

Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (9-8, 3.44 ERA) will oppose Brewers right-hander Matt Garza in the series finale on Sunday. Zimmermann is 4-1 with a 3.71 ERA in six starts against the Brewers but is 1-3 with a 4.01 ERA since the all-star break.

Garza (6-13, 4.98 ERA) looks to bounce back from his previous outing when he lasted only five innings, giving up five runs in a 6-2 loss to the Marlins. In six starts since returning from the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis, Garza is 2-3 with a 3.44 ERA.

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