- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - On a night when the Washington Nationals learned four of their players are headed to the All-Star Game, the accomplishment was marred by the team’s uncharacteristic performance in a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Gio Gonzalez gave up a tiebreaking two-run homer in the sixth inning, and the NL East-leading Nationals showed very little spark in a 5-2 loss Tuesday night.

Aaron Hill went 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs for the Brewers, who will attempt to complete a three-game sweep on Wednesday.

“We were flat today, made some mistakes,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We didn’t play very good baseball. Right now they’re taking it to us, versus us taking it to them.”

Daniel Murphy, Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Stephen Strasburg were selected to play for the NL in San Diego next Tuesday. Strasburg didn’t pitch in this game, and the three position players probably wish they had the night off, too.

Harper struggled with two fly balls to right field, both of which fell for doubles. He also struck out with the bases loaded.

Murphy was guilty of a baserunning gaffe, and Ramos went 0 for 4.

“It’s just part of the game,” Harper said.

Murphy violated two of baseball’s basic rules as the leadoff hitter in the eighth inning. After running slow from the batter’s box on a liner to right, he was thrown out at third base trying to stretch the hit into a triple.

“That was a terrible play,” Murphy acknowledged. “I didn’t hustle out of the box, I didn’t hustle to second and tried to save it by going to third and made the first out at third base down three runs. It changed the whole complexion of the game.”

Milwaukee was 1-8-4 in its first 13 series on the road, defeating only Atlanta in May.

“Feels good to get any win, but especially against a team like this,” Hill said. “We just took advantage of some of our opportunities and our pitching and our bullpen and our closer did a great job for us again.”

Zach Davies (6-4) allowed two runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. The rookie retired 10 in a row before giving up three straight singles in the seventh.

Washington loaded the bases with two outs for Harper, who looked at a third strike from Will Smith to end the threat.

“He’s facing the best hitter in the middle of the lineup on the other team,” manager Craig Counsell said. “Obviously, Harper is one of the best. Doesn’t get in a bigger spot in a baseball game than that.”

Jeremy Jeffress worked the ninth for his 23rd save.

Milwaukee improved to 4-1 against the Nationals with one game left. It’s the Brewers’ first season series win against Washington since 2010.

Hernan Perez put Milwaukee up 3-1 in the sixth with a drive off Gonzalez (4-8), who is 1-7 in nine starts since May 18.

Hill added a two-run drive in the seventh off Blake Treinen.

Neither pitcher had a perfect inning until Davies put down the Nationals in order in the fifth. Heading into the sixth, the teams combined for 11 hits and four walks but only two runs.

Washington used an RBI single by Anthony Rendon to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Milwaukee tied it in the third with a run-scoring single by Hill.


Brewers: OF Domingo Santana (elbow soreness) “is not nearly close” to coming off the DL, Counsell said.

Nationals: Baker was nursing a cold and acknowledged that “everyone was dragging” during Monday’s 11 a.m. game. It didn’t get any better in this one.


Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (1-1, 3.74 ERA) makes his fifth start of the season in the series finale Wednesday. Although Garza is 1-4 with a 7.01 ERA lifetime against Washington, he beat the Nats 6-5 on June 25.

Nationals: Tanner Roark (7-5, 2.93) is 2-0 lifetime against the Brewers. He pitched seven shutout innings on June 26 in a 3-2 win.

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