Nationals win 8-6, extend Brewers’ losing streak to 8 games
WASHINGTON (AP) — Juan Soto, Nelson Cruz and Josh Bell hit back-to-back-to-back home runs, and the Washington Nationals beat Milwaukee 8-6 on Saturday to deal the Brewers their eighth consecutive loss.
Milwaukee is in the midst of its longest losing streak since dropping eight in a row from Sept. 11-19, 2015. The Brewers have been outscored 57-20 during their skid.
“We have to accept it for what it is right now and find a way to get past it,” Milwaukee starter Eric Lauer said. “We’re kind of sitting in a chaos cycle where we’re doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It’s not something we can keep doing.”
Washington broke it open in the fifth against Lauer (5-2). The left-hander entered the day having surrendered just one homer in his last four starts, a stretch of 22 innings, but things went sideways as he faced the Nationals’ order for a third time.
Soto belted a two-run shot to center to put Washington up 6-1, and Cruz followed two pitches later with a blast into the same section. Bell then got ahead of Lauer 3-1 before poking a home run down the left field line for Washington, which won for the fifth time in eight games.
“I was just taking off my gear, and I saw the ball flying all over the place,” Soto said. “The crowd was crazy and I stood up on the (dugout) stairs to wait for Nellie. Then I came back down to keep pulling off my gear and Josh hit another one. It was a great moment.”
It was the fifth time since the Nationals moved to Washington in 2005 that they hit three consecutive homers and the first since Howie Kendrick, Trea Turner, Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon went deep in succession June 9, 2019, at San Diego.
“It’s what we envisioned in spring training and we’ve shown it at times over the last couple of months,” Bell said. “To put it all together in the same inning there is pretty special.”
Patrick Corbin (3-8) gave up four runs in six-plus innings to win back-to-back starts for the first time since June 15-20 of last year.
Christian Yelich led off the game with a home run, but the Brewers couldn’t muster anything else against Corbin until Lorenzo Cain’s RBI double in the seventh. Mark Mathias then hit his first major league homer to make it 8-4. Luis Urías added a two-run homer in the ninth off Tanner Rainey.
The Nationals took the lead in the third on Soto’s bases-loaded walk, Cruz’s two-run double and Bell’s sacrifice fly.
Lauer yielded eight runs and seven hits in five innings while striking out two and walking four.
“There’s never a good mood when you’re in a stretch like this,” said Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell, who remained one win shy of Phil Garner’s franchise record for managerial victories. “The great thing is there’s a game tomorrow and we get a chance to stop it and turn the tide.”
Brewers: Milwaukee placed 2B Kolten Wong (right calf strain) on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Wednesday. Wong is hitting .228 with five homers and 17 RBIs. … The Brewers optioned RHP Luke Barker to Triple-A Nashville and recalled Mathias and RHP Peter Strzelecki from Nashville. Barker was 0-0 with an 11.25 ERA in three appearances.
Nationals: RHP Mason Thompson (biceps strain) has started throwing live batting practice. Thompson last appeared in a game April 9.
Both Cruz and Bell homered for the second game in a row and continued torrid stretches. Cruz is hitting .423 (30 of 71) with three homers and 15 RBIs in his last 20 games, while Bell is hitting .333 (24 of 72) with three homers and 14 RBIs in his last 19 games.
Brewers: RHP Jason Alexander (0-0, 2.25 ERA) makes his third career start and first against Washington.
Nationals: RHP Paolo Espino (0-0, 2.03) makes his first start of the season in the series finale. Espino started 19 games a year ago for Washington.
More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports