- Associated Press - Monday, July 4, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - Max Scherzer can live with giving up home runs as long as runners aren’t on base. Against a dominant Junior Guerra, even one solo blast was too many.

Guerra outdueled Scherzer, Martin Maldonado homered, and the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Washington Nationals 1-0 on Monday.

Guerra (6-1) allowed two hits in 7 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking two. The 31-year-old rookie threw eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball in his previous start and has won three straight.

Maldonado gave the Brewers the lead in the fifth when he sent a 2-1 pitch from Scherzer (9-6) over the visitor’s bullpen for his third homer of the season.

“Most of the times solo bombs, they don’t beat you,” said Scherzer, who has allowed an NL-high 21 homers. “It happened today.”

One day after hitting six homers in a 12-1 win against the Reds, Washington batters were stifled by Guerra. In one stretch, he retired 12 straight before Jayson Werth singled with two outs in the sixth. Then, with runners on second and third after a walk and a wild pitch, Guerra struck out Wilson Ramos.

“We only had a couple of opportunities to score,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “I’ve always said the advantage goes to the pitcher when you haven’t seen him before. … We flirted with the fence most of the day and he kind of had us fishing for that split-finger.”

Shortstop Jonathan Villar made a sliding catch of Ben Revere’s pop fly along the left-field foul line to end the eighth.

Jeremy Jeffress pitched the ninth for his 22nd save as Milwaukee snapped a four-game losing streak.

Scherzer threw 114 pitches in six innings as Milwaukee hitters consistently fouled off pitches. He gave up a run and four hits, while striking out seven and walking three. The right-hander hasn’t pitched more than six innings in three of his last four starts.

“I just haven’t been quite as efficient over the past couple of outings,” Scherzer said. “I’m kind of scratching my head over that.”

Fans were still settling in for the traditional 11:05 a.m. July 4 game when the Brewers lost a hit for batting out of order in the first. After No. 3 hitter Ryan Braun’s two-out single, Baker visited home plate umpire Cory Blaser.

Ultimately, Jonathan Lucroy, who was listed third on the lineup card given to the umpires before the game, was charged with an at-bat and an out. Braun, who does usually bat third, hit fourth and led off the second inning.

“I screwed up,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell admitted. “I was going with some different lineups yesterday with Ryan in and out of the lineup. And it was just my mistake. … The guys certainly picked me up.”


RHP Jonathan Papelbon (right rib muscle strain) returned from the 15-day DL and pitched a scoreless ninth. “(Papelbon) gets our bullpen back in sync,” Baker said.


Baker kept a ‘banged-up’ 2B Daniel Murphy out of the lineup, but Murphy flied out as pinch hitter in the eighth … RHP Joe Ross’ trip to the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation was mainly precautionary, Baker said, and that if this was late in the season Ross could have pitched.


Brewers: RHP Zach Davis (5-4, 4.22) allowed six runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings in his last outing, but had gone 5-0 with a 2.64 ERA over his 10 prior starts.

Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (4-7, 4.81) allowed six runs on six hits in a June 25 loss at Milwaukee. He’s given up three or more earned runs in his last eight starts.

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