Neil Walker drilled a solo home run in the first inning, and it turned out to be all the offense Milwaukee would need Friday night in a 1-0 win over the Washington Nationals.
Starter Jimmy Nelson was masterful in keeping the NL East-leading Nationals off the scoreboard, going seven innings, giving up just three hits and striking out 11. The bullpen backed him up, with Josh Hader and Corey Knebel striking out all six batters they faced. It gave Nelson win No. 11 on the year, tying a career-high for him, while Knebel picked up save No. 32.
On the other side, Washington’s Tanner Roark was nearly as good. Outside of the mistake to Walker, he shut Milwaukee down, going seven innings and allowing five hits while striking out 10. Centerfielder Jonathan Villar was the only Brewers batter to have more than one hit on the night.
Outfielder Ryan Braun was tossed from the game in the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes. It was the sixth time in his career he’s been ejected from a game.
With the win, and a loss by Colorado, Milwaukee moved to within 1 1/2 games of the Rockies for the final wild card spot in the National League. The Crew remains 3 1/2 games back of Chicago in the NL Central.
It’ll be Washington and the Brewers once again Saturday night at Miller Park. First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m.