- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

MILWAUKEE — Stephen Strasburg’s back hurt when he tried to throw, and then Gio Gonzalez pitched a season-low three innings in Washington’s seventh straight loss.

It’s a tough stretch right now for the sliding Nationals.

“My mother told me there’d be days like this, but we haven’t had one in a long time,” manager Dusty Baker said.

Long after Gonzalez was replaced by Yusmeiro Petit, Washington’s rally fizzled in a 6-5 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday. Then Baker announced Strasburg would be replaced by right-hander Tanner Roark for the series finale.

Strasburg, who is 10-0 with a 2.90 ERA, also missed his last scheduled start with an upper back strain.

“He went down to warm up and felt it again, in the same area,” Baker said.

Gonzalez (3-7) allowed six runs and six hits in his sixth consecutive loss. He struck out five and walked one.

“You worry about his confidence,” Baker said.

Gonzalez insisted he will “stay positive and keep fighting.”

The veteran left-hander got off a rough start when Chris Carter hit a three-run homer with two out in the first. Jonathan Villar collected three hits for Milwaukee, including an RBI single in the second.

Matt Garza (1-0) pitched six innings for his first win in his third start of the year. The 32-year-old right-hander, who missed the first two months of the season due to a back injury, gave up four runs and seven hits.

Daniel Murphy had three hits for Washington, which trailed 6-1 after three. Danny Espinosa drove in two runs with a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly.

Ryan Zimmerman’s sacrifice fly got the Nationals within one in the seventh, but Murphy was stranded at third when Anthony Rendon grounded out to end the inning.

“Some good things happened today. We battled, but it’s time for us to win some wars now,” Baker said. “We had action, we flirted with the fence all day, but came up short.”

Jeremy Jeffress worked the ninth for his 21st save in 22 opportunities.


The Brewers wore the uniforms of the Milwaukee Bears in their 11th annual Negro Leagues tribute game. The Bears played one season (1923) in the league. The Nationals donned the uniforms of the Homestead Grays.


As Carter and second baseman Scooter Gennett chased a foul ball down the right-field line in the sixth, a fan wearing a Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses and a straw hat reached over a railing and snagged the ball in his glove.


Nationals: Closer Jonathan Papelbon, who is on the disabled list with an intercostal strain, threw a 40-pitch bullpen session. “He said his control wasn’t where it was, but that’s not what we were worried about,” Baker said. “The purpose of the session was to see how he felt. He came in full of life.”

Brewers: Ryan Braun was struck solidly on the left foot by a pitch from Gonzalez in the third. After hobbling to first base, he remained in the game.


Nationals: RHP Roark (6-5, 3.18 ERA) last pitched on Tuesday at the Dodgers, allowing three runs and six hits in 7 1/3 innings in a 3-2 loss.

Brewers: Jimmy Nelson (5-6, 3.80 ERA) is 1-1 with a 7.84 ERA in two career starts versus Washington, both coming last season. Milwaukee is winless in Nelson’s last four starts.

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