Yelich leads in 6 races, propels the Brewers to Washington 9-6
Christian Yelich had a grand slam in the eighth inning, a solo shot in the first and finished with six RBIs as the Milwaukee Brewers held on for a 9-6 victory over the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.
Yelich’s slam gave the Brewers a 9-4 lead. Washington scored two runs in the ninth, but left the bases loaded.
“I was really just trying to add up the lead there, we were already one point ahead,” said Yelich, who hit a homerun on the ninth toss. “I’m just trying to really put something in the outfield so we can score and tack on an extra run.”
Luis Urias reached on receiver interference to open the eighth against Javy Guerra (0-1). Jace Peterson picked a single and Jackie Bradley Jr. was hit with a pitch. After Willy Adames came out, Kolten Wong was hit with a throw to force into the go-ahead run at 5-4.
Yelich, who also had an RBI single, then drove a 3-2 454-foot center-right pitch for his eighth homer of the season.
“He got 3-2 off a really good hitter at Yelich and had to throw a strike with the goals loaded, and Yelich didn’t miss that shot,” said Nationals manager Dave Martinez. “He threw it about in the middle, maybe a little bit in it, and he crushed it.”
The Nationals loaded goals in the ninth against Miguel Sanchez on two walks and one hit. Josh Hader then allowed an RBI single and walked in for a point, before completing his 25th save on 26 occasions.
Devin Williams (7-1) struck out two of the three hitters he faced in the eighth to claim the victory.
The Yelich circuit in the first round was his first since July 18. Yelich, who was on the COVID-19 injured list from July 27 to August. 6, had 36 home runs in 2018 as an MVP and 44 in 2019 before a fractured kneecap at the end of the season. He fell to 12 home runs in 58 games last season.
“Obviously this hasn’t been the best year in terms of performance for me,” said Yelich. “History is not yet written. We have a long way to go. There’s a lot of baseball left to play, not just in the regular season, but hopefully in the playoffs for us. I think this thing is far from over.
Washington tied 4-4 when Yadiel Hernandez opened the sixth inning with his sixth homer of the season against reliever Brent Suter.
Wong’s head-to-head baseline race posted a three-point fifth as the Brewers led 4-3. Lorenzo Cain walked one out and moved up to third on Wong’s singles. Gabe Klobosits relieved and Yelich delivered a single RBI, reducing the lead to 3-2. After Yelich stole second place, Omar Narvaez fouled first baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
Receiver Tres Barrera converged on the pop foul, leaving home plate exposed. Wong slipped out of third place and slipped home before Zimmerman’s attempt to dive. The appeal was confirmed after review. Eduardo Escobar followed with an RBI single.
“As soon as I identified myself, I saw the catcher leave and no one was home,” Wong said. “Basically it was just a race between me and Zimmerman. I wanted to take my chances and be aggressive there.
Washington went up 3-1 with a run in the top half on Alcides Escobar’s RBI double. The Nationals scored two runs in the first on Juan Soto’s RBI single and a sacrifice fly from Zimmerman.
Nationals: C Alex Avila, on the injured list since July 3 with bilateral calf strains, continues to improve. “He’s better. He ran about 70% yesterday,” Martinez said. “He’s trying to prepare. We hope he gets a little better here. he is able to run a bit, hopefully it won’t take him longer.
Brewers: OF Tyrone Taylor was placed on the 10 Day Injury List with a right oblique stump. Taylor, hitting .245 with 10 home runs in 82 games, started Friday night and was 0-2 before leaving after four innings. RHP Eric Yardley has been recalled from Triple-A Nashville.
LHP Sean Nolin (0-1, 12:00 ERA) makes his second start of the season for the Nationals in the series final on Sunday afternoon. RHP Adrian Houser (7-5, 3.55) makes his first departure for Milwaukee since entering COVID-19 IL on August 7. House is 4-0 with a 2.83 ERA in his last 12 games, including 10 starts.