MILWAUKEE — Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals are on a tough 10-game trip.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Keon Broxton each hit home runs off Scherzer and the Milwaukee Brewers won 5-3 on Friday night to extend the Nationals’ losing streak to a season-worst six games.
“Offense hasn’t done the job,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “That’s pretty evident. I sound like a broken record. We’ve had runners out there.”
The Nationals left 11 men on base and were 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position. They have two games left against Milwaukee before returning home.
“We had bases loaded in the eighth and an opportunity to win the game or tie the game in the ninth,” Baker said.
Nieuwenhuis had struck out five times in five plate appearances against Scherzer in his career, then struck out swinging in the first and third innings Friday. In his third at-bat, he drove a 2-1 pitch from Scherzer well over the wall in right-center for a two-run homer in the sixth.
Scherzer has given up a major league-leading 20 home runs. He allowed five runs on five hits over six innings. He walked three and struck out 10, throwing 117 pitches.
“It’s one of those things I’ll just scratch my head over because the whole day I was able to have the fastball away work,” Scherzer said. “It worked the whole day. I guess in a 2-1 count, just used it too much and was a little bit too predictable with it. He caught up to it and blasted it.”
With one out in the first, Scherzer loaded the bases on three consecutive walks. He struck out Nieuwenhuis, but then allowed Aaron Hill’s two-run single. Scherzer struck out Ramon Flores to end the threat and held Milwaukee to one hit until Broxton tied it with his homer in the fifth.
Jeremy Jeffress hit the first batter in the ninth and then allowed Daniel Murphy’s hit with two outs, putting runners at the corners. Wilson Ramos struck out swinging, giving Jeffress his 20th save in 21 chances.
Brewers starter Zach Davies allowed Murphy’s two-run double and Ramos’ run-scoring single, but nothing more. He scattered seven hits, walked one and matched his career high with nine strikeouts against a team he had never faced.
The teams combined for 29 strikeouts, including a season-high 16 by the Brewers pitchers.
“It’s real tough because that means you don’t have a chance to do anything,” Baker said.
Trailing 5-3, the Nationals loaded the bases with one out in the top of the eighth off reliever Tyler Thornburg, but failed to score.
Carlos Torres (1-1) picked up the win with a 1-2-3 sixth.
Ramos extended his hitting streak to eight games, going 4 for 5 with three singles and a double. It was his second four-hit game of the season and fourth of his career.
Ben Revere, Danny Espinosa and Murphy each got hit by a pitch.
MURPHY PADS HIS LEAD
Murphy leads all NL second basemen with 20 doubles and 48 RBIs. He also recorded his 30th multihit game of the season, tied for the NL lead.
STRASBURG SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY
RHP Stephen Strasburg starts Sunday against the Brewers after skipping his last scheduled appearance with an upper back strain. He was scratched from an anticipated showdown against Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on Monday. Strasburg is 10-0 with a 2.90 ERA in 14 starts this season.
“If he’s encouraged, I’m encouraged,” Baker said before Friday night’s game. “Welcome back. He’s been working hard with our training staff to get ready for his start. I’m sure he wouldn’t have gone out there if he wasn’t ready. He says he’s ready, then we’ll welcome him.”
Nationals: LF Jason Werth got a scheduled night off. Ben Revere made his seventh start of the season replacing Werth. … RHP Jonathan Papelbon went on the 15-day disabled list June 14 with a right intercostal strain. “He’s feeling pretty good,” Baker said. “We’ll get him right. He’ll come back even stronger than when he left.”
Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-6, 4.25 ERA) makes his 15th start of the season but hasn’t pitched at Miller Park since 2014. In 36 career games against NL Central teams, he is 15-7 with a 2.87 ERA.
Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (0-0, 0.90 ERA) looks for his first win after two consecutive no decisions since being reinstated from the 60-day disabled list (right elbow soreness) on June 10. He is 0-4 with a 7.17 ERA in eight career starts against the Nationals.
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