WASHINGTON -- Marlon Byrd made quite a first impression. Tony Armas Jr.'s second impression wasn't shabby, either.
Byrd went 3-for-4, drove in three runs and made a nice catch in his Nationals' debut, backing seven solid innings from Armas and lifting Washington past the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 Monday night for its third consecutive victory.
"You don't want to go out there after a trade and go 0-for-4," said Byrd, acquired from the Phillies on Saturday. "You want to put together some good at-bats and show these guys I can play."
Brewers starter Doug Davis (4-5) gave up all five runs -- four earned -- nine hits and two walks over six innings, then ripped RFK Stadium's troublesome mound.
"It's horrible. It's the worst mound I've ever pitched on. It's OK the first two or three innings, then after that there are holes four, five inches deep," Davis said. "It's just really soft. It's breaking down."
Armas (1-1) had no such apparent problems, earning his first win since July 23 against the Florida Marlins. The right-hander, making his second start of the season, was working on a pitch count and allowed two runs, five hits and two walks.
He had rotator cuff surgery in May 2003, didn't return until June 2004, and made just 16 starts last season. He began this season on the disabled list with a groin injury, and made his first start May 10, allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings.
"I'm almost there," said Armas, acquired from the Red Sox in the Pedro Martinez deal. "I just need to build up a little more strength. But today was a good sign."
Gary Majewski worked out of a bases-loaded jam the eighth, and Luis Ayala pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save.
In addition to Byrd's two broken-bat singles and two-run double off the wall, Washington received a 3-for-4 night from Vinny Castilla, including his fourth homer. Brad Wilkerson contributed two hits.
Washington acquired Byrd from Philadelphia on Saturday for Endy Chavez -- both used to be starting center fielders, and both fell out of favor with their former teams. Once a top prospect, Byrd finished fourth in the 2003 NL rookie of the year voting after hitting .303 with seven homers, 28 doubles and 45 RBI in 135 games. He began last season as the team's leadoff hitter but was shipped to the minors in June and wound up batting .228 in 106 games with the Phillies.
"Sometimes it helps a guy, or a certain person, to have a change of scenery," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "The chance to come someplace new and get a fresh start always helps."
It doesn't hurt, surely, that Nationals manager Frank Robinson is a big fan and plans to start Byrd against left-handers.
"There's a positive aura when you walk in here, to have a guy who believes in you, coming from an organization that lost faith in you," Byrd said. "These guys have faith in me, and you want to keep that going and let that grow."
With Wilkerson entrenched in center, Byrd made his first start in left field since 2001. The game's first batter, Brady Clark, hit a floater to shallow left, and a charging Byrd slid out of the way to let shortstop Cristian Guzman try to make the play with his back to the infield. The ball popped out of Guzman's glove, and Clark wound up with a double, though he was stranded.
Byrd worried about trying to make a diving catch and flattening Guzman, saying the last thing his new team needs is another injury.
Indeed, after the game, Robinson said that right fielder Jose Guillen will sit out the next few days to rest a bothersome ribcage muscle injury.
"We talked, and I've been really banged up. We'll see if I can get better," said Guillen, who was hit by a pitch for the sixth time this season, by reliever Tommy Phelps in the seventh. "I really cannot swing the bat right now. I'm not 100 percent."
That must make Washington even more thrilled with Byrd's debut.
He gave Washington a 1-0 lead in the second after Nick Johnson reached on Davis' fielding error and Castilla singled. Byrd hit a roller that third baseman Russell Branyan charged in to try to pick up barehanded but dropped.
After Milwaukee tied it in the third with a two-out rally, Castilla drove a 1-0 pitch into the Nationals' bullpen to make it 2-1. Washington added three runs in the fifth. Wilkerson singled, was sacrificed to second by Jamey Carroll, and Johnson drove him home with a single that glanced off second baseman Junior Spivey's outstretched glove. Castilla followed with an RBI single, and Byrd drove in two more with his double, which landed just below the 380-foot sign in left-center. If it had been five feet higher, it would have been a homer.
Carlos Lee drew Milwaukee within three on his seventh homer, off Armas in the sixth.
Washington RHP Livan Hernandez's right knee was drained Monday after an MRI exam and he was listed as day to day. ... Castilla has seven game-winning RBI. ... Brewers RHP Ben Sheets, out with an ear infection, will throw batting practice Tuesday, but Yost said the starter will not return against Minnesota this weekend.