- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Milwaukee Brewers didn’t get the sweep they were shooting for, yet they derived a huge sense of satisfaction from their holiday visit to the nation’s capital.

Matt Garza yielded three home runs, and the Brewers fell to the Washington Nationals 7-4 on Wednesday in the finale of a three-game series.

Milwaukee won the first two from the NL East leaders, including a 1-0 thriller against Max Scherzer on July 4. So as they packed their bags to head home, the Brewers felt pretty good about what they had accomplished.

“Builds our confidence, knowing you can play with the best,” said Scooter Gennett, who drove in two runs and stole home.

A three-run homer by Bryce Harper in the first inning and a solo shot by Jose Lobaton put Milwaukee in a 4-0 hole in the second inning.

The Brewers came back with a four-run third against Tanner Roark that featured five singles and Gennett scoring on the front end of a double steal.

After that, however, the Nationals pulled away.

“You come on the road and play a first-place team and win two out of three, for sure that’s a good series,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “But after you tie it up you feel like you left something out there.”

Garza (1-2) gave up seven runs, eight hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings. He is 1-5 with a 7.69 ERA in 10 career starts against Washington.

“Behind in a lot of counts today and I had to pitch from behind and that’s what happens,” Garza said. “You just put it in the back of your mind and get through it and get to the next one.”

The right-hander ran into difficulty almost immediately, giving up singles to Ben Revere and Jayson Werth before Harper hit his 18th home run, an opposite-field poke to left.

After Milwaukee drew even, Stephen Drew hit a two-out RBI double in the bottom half for a 5-4 lead.

Ryan Zimmerman chased Garza with a two-run drive in the fifth for a 7-4 lead.

Roark (8-5) allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings. The right-hander beat the Brewers on June 26 to help Washington dodge a three-game sweep.

“He pounded the strike zone,” Harper said. “When he goes out there, it’s usually a quick game and a lot of fun.”

Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.

MAKE SOME NOISE

Nationals manager Dusty Baker is asking the home fans to crank up the volume in the second half of the season. “Some of the guys on the team wish our fans were more boisterous and crazy, like we see at different stadiums on the road,” he said. Taking into account the transient nature of Washington, Baker added, “We realize a lot of fans are new. We’re trying to win everybody over to us. We need their energy, big time.”

CLOSE CALL

According to Major League Baseball, the 88-vote margin by which Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist defeated Washington’s Daniel Murphy to start in the All-Star Game (3,013,407 to 3,013,319) was the closest margin since 1982, when Manny Trillo defeated Steve Sax for NL 2B by 1,625 votes.

WIN AND OUT

Brewers: RHP Zach Davies, who started and won Tuesday’s game, was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. 1B Andy Wilkins was recalled from the same club.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (right shoulder inflammation) has been inactive since being placed on the DL on Sunday. “He’s shut down right now. We’re trying to get the inflammation out of there,” Baker said.

UP NEXT

Brewers: After taking Thursday off, the Brewers welcome St. Louis for a three-game series leading up to the All-Star break.

Nationals: The Nationals send rookie Lucas Giolito to the mound Thursday night. He pitched four scoreless innings in his debut.

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