- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Jordan Zimmermann struggled through his second shortest start of the season.

Milwaukee capitalized on his ineffectiveness while Mike Fiers pitched seven effective innings, Aramis Ramirez hit three doubles and drove in five runs, and the Brewers beat the Washington Nationals 8-4 on Friday night.

“His location was off,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “He couldn’t command much tonight. (The) ball was over the middle of the plate and up.”

Zimmermann (5-4) allowed six runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings, the shortest start since going 2 1/3 on April 13. He walked one and struck out four.

He came in 4-0 with a 2.35 ERA in five career starts against the Brewers, but couldn’t locate his pitches and it cost him just like his last start, a 6-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday when he allowed four runs and 10 hits in five innings.

“It’s mainly location and not hitting the spots,” Zimmermann said.

This game turned against him right away.

Gerardo Parra walked with one out, but was erased at second as Ryan Braun grounded into a force out and just beat the relay throw. Adam Lind blooped a single that landed in short right-center field as Braun raced to third. Ramirez followed with a two-run double and the Brewers had a lead they never lost.

“We had an opportunity to turn two in the first inning,” Williams said. “That didn’t quite happen. A couple of base hits and we’re down two.”

Williams said that getting Zimmermann back on track would start immediately.

“We’ll have to make some adjustments and get him ready for his next one,” he said. “Start tomorrow, hopefully, getting the ball down in the zone a little bit.”

The short start also put a strain on the bullpen which lost reliever Aaron Barrett in Thursday night’s game to a right biceps strain.

“It puts a little pressure on us, but we’ll have to deal with it,” he said.

Williams’ astute eye cost the Brewers a run in the third. He asked for a review of second base umpire Todd Tichenor’s safe call at second. Gerardo Parra dove head-first back to the bag on a pickoff play as shortstop Ian Desmond applied the tag. It took 59 seconds for the timely reversal. One batter later, Ramirez doubled home Ryan Braun from first.

Bryce Harper did what he could to keep the Nationals close. He hit a solo shot, his 21st home run of the season, leading off the second and knocked in the second run with an RBI single in the third.

Harper turned a bit philosophical describing the loss.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains,” he said.

Fiers (3-6) allowed three runs and five hits. He struck out eight and walked three in his second career victory in two starts against the Nationals. He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a 6-0 win against Washington July 27, 2012, and made two relief appearances against them last season.

“I try to pitch around too many guys,” the right-hander said. “So, I have to trust in myself and get off the field as quick as possible. That’s what I did.”

Second baseman Scooter Gennett turned in a defensive gem in the fourth. Wilson Ramos hit a sharply hit ball that Gennett snagged with a dive that carried him well behind the bag at second. Without getting up, he flipped the ball with his glove to shortstop Jean Segura who grabbed it barehanded and stepped on the bag to just get Harper.

Fiers escaped a two-out bases loaded jam in the sixth when he got pinch-hitter Danny Espinosa on a long fly ball that Shane Patterson caught on the warning track in left.

Ramirez put Milwaukee ahead 2-0 in the first with his ninth double of the season. His 10th drove in a run in the third. Then he highlighted the Brewers’ four-run fourth inning with his 11th, a two-run line drive off reliever Taylor Hill. Jonathan Lucroy knocked in the other two runs that inning with a single.

“You need nights like tonight where he kind of just drives the bus offensively and just cleans everything up,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He did it tonight, that’s for sure.”

Tyler Moore homered in the seventh and Ramos’ double off reliever Corey Knebel in the eighth drove in Harper.

Adam Lind made it 8-2 with a run-scoring in the sixth. Each position player had at least one hit for Milwaukee which tied its season-high with 16 hits.

Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth for Milwaukee.


Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, on the DL with neck tightness since May 30, threw 60 pitches before Friday night’s game. The right-hander used all his pitches and there were no issues, according to Williams. Strasburg (3-5, 6.55 ERA) would be re-evaluated Saturday. … The Nationals activated newly acquired right-handed reliever David Carpenter after placing right-hander Aaron Barrett on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right biceps. Carpenter got into the game in the eighth and retired the side in order.

Brewers: CF Carlos Gomez (sore legs) missed his third consecutive game. “He’s day-to-day, but hopefully tomorrow,” Counsell said.


Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (0-1) is scheduled to make his first career road start Saturday. In his debut against the Chicago Cubs on June 6, he allowed three earned runs on six hits over five innings.

Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (3-6, 4.05 ERA) looks to make his sixth quality start Saturday against a team he’s never faced.


The Nationals have homered in seven straight games, their longest streak of the season.


Gennett has hit safely in both games since he was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs. With two hits Friday night, he earned his first multi-hit game of the season.


Desmond went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts.

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