Brewers beat Nationals in series opener
MILWAUKEE — A painful day gave way to a good night for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Christian Yelich had a base-loaded triple and Jhoulys Chacin had another strong start to help the Brewers beat the Washington Nationals 6-1 on Monday at Miller Park.
Erik Kratz drove in a pair of runs for the Brewers, who pulled within 2½ games of NL Central leading Chicago, which lost to Arizona 7-1. Milwaukee won for just the second time in 10 games.
Chacin (9-3) limited Washington to one run and two hits in 5º innings, a day after the Brewers used Kratz and utility player Hernan Perez in mop-up roles on the mound in an 11-2 drubbing by the Dodgers. Chacin struck out a season-high nine batters and didn’t issue a walk.
The victory came hours after Milwaukee learned starting pitcher Brent Suter would be lost for the season with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Suter left Sunday’s game when he felt pain. He will have Tommy John surgery.
“It was pretty crushing news, but I’m kind of starting to accept it a little bit,” Suter said before the game. “It’s tough news at the same time.”
Right-hander Jorge López was recalled from Class AAA Colorado Springs to replace Suter.
The Nationals scored first when Daniel Murphy lined a home run to right field leading off the second against Chacin.
The Brewers evened the score in the second on Kratz’s sacrifice fly off Washington starter Gio Gonzalez (6-7).
Kratz drove in another run in the fourth with a bases-loaded groundout. Chacin followed with a single to left to drive in his first run of the season.
Yelich lined a triple into the right-field corner with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth to extend the lead to 6-1.
Suter left Milwaukee’s 11-2 loss to the Dodgers on Sunday after three innings — the team initially diagnosed it as a strain, the same injury that led to a stint on the disabled list late last month.
The 28-year-old Suter pitched a career-high 101⅓ innings this season, going 8-7 with a 4.80 ERA in 20 appearances, including 18 starts. He’s helped the Brewers stay near the top of the NL Central race.
“He’d cemented himself as a member of the rotation and was giving us a chance to win,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He was doing his job.”
The Brewers’ rotation has been a strength this season and is currently fifth in the National League with a 3.91 ERA despite missing ace Jimmy Nelson for the entire year.
Nelson still has no timetable for a return after shoulder surgery last September.
Junior Guerra is set to come off the disabled list today to face the Nationals. He’s been out since just before the All-Star break with a forearm strain.
With the trade deadline drawing near, Suter’s injury could add starting pitching to Milwaukee’s wish list, but Counsell said he’s confident in the group he’s got for the time being.
“We’re always going to consider what’s next and what happens next,” Counsell said. “But we’ve got five guys right now, those are our five guys and we’re in good shape right now.”
From the infirmary
Brewers All-Star first baseman Jesus Aguilar didn’t start for the second consecutive game due to hamstring soreness. “There’s enough soreness that we’re going to be cautious and hold him out today,” Counsell said. ... Brewers first baseman/outfielder Eric Thames (right hamstring soreness) could come off the DL as early as today. ... Right-hander Zach Davies (right shoulder tightness) threw live batting practice and is expected to make a rehab start with Class A Wisconsin on Thursday.