MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Milwaukee Brewers offense disappeared for the second straight day and the result was another loss
Milwaukee lost its third straight game, falling 3-0 to the Nationals on Saturday, and has only scored one run in the first two games of the series and only two runs in the team's last three games.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said the team is going to struggle offensively without slugger Ryan Braun, who is suspended for the rest of the season, and Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez, who are both out with injuries.
``It's easy to say it worries me and I don't want to keep making excuses, but we're without our 3-4-5 hitters so we're going to battle the best that we can,' he said. ``You take those guys out of any lineup and you're going to struggle at times.'
The only inning the Brewers had a chance to score was the first. Rickie Weeks led off with a double and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Nationals pitcher Dan Haren struck out Jean Segura, but walked Jonathan Lucroy. Haren got Carlos Gomez to pop out to short to end the inning.
``When we get these opportunities, we need to figure out a way to get those guys in,' Roenicke said. ``We didn't have a lot today, but when we do have the opportunity - and at that point a ground ball to the infield scores the guy - we have to find a way to put it in play. ``
Donovan Hand (0-3), making his sixth start of the season, gave up three runs on five hits for the Brewers.
Hand said he thought he pitched a good game, but gave up two home runs.
``I threw pretty well, got through seven and kept us in the game, but I've just got to be better,' he said. ``The home runs, I didn't think they hit them that well, but they still got out and put a run on the board. When I leave one up, they hit it. ``
The key to the game for the Nationals was the continued strong pitching of Haren. He pitched seven strong innings, giving up just four hits, with six strikeouts and two walks.
It was the second straight strong outing for Haren (6-11) as he allowed one run and three hits in seven innings of a 4-1 win over the New York Mets July 27. Prior to that, he had not won a game in more than two months as the Nationals had lost his previous 11 starts. Haren went 0-8 with a 6.18 ERA in that stretch.
Haren was on the disabled list in early July with a sore right shoulder and said the rest did him good.
``Going on the disabled list gave me a chance to regroup,' he said. ``I wanted to leave the first part of the season behind and help the team try and get back into the race.'
The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Jayson Werth singled to start the inning and scored on Anthony Rendon's sacrifice fly as he slid around the tag from Lucroy.
Wilson Ramos' seventh home run of the season in the fifth inning boosted Washington's lead to 2-0.
Adam LaRoche broke out of his hitting slump in a big way in the sixth inning, lining a pitch over the leftfield wall for his 15th home run of the season to give Washington a 3-0 lead. LaRoche had just one hit in his previous 28 at bats.
Notes: Roenicke said LHP Tom Gorzelanny is expected to miss at least one start after being struck on his pitching elbow by a line drive Friday night. ... The attendance for the first two games of the series was 70,514, meaning the team handed out $705,100 in vouchers for food and merchandise. The team is handing out $10 vouchers to every fan that attends a home game in August as a result of slugger Ryan Braun's suspension for the rest or the season. ... Brewers RHP Kyle Lohse (7-7) will pitch the series' finale Sunday against the Nationals' RHP Taylor Jordan (1-3).
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved