MILWAUKEE -- In a little over two weeks, Ramon Ortiz has turned his season around.
He gave up two earned runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. In his last four starts, Ortiz has allowed nine earned runs after giving up 21 runs in the four losses.
"Everything is coming together," Ortiz said. "I never put my head down. I just kept going because I know we have a lot of talent and I know I can pitch."
Nationals manager Frank Robinson said Ortiz (4-4) has become a smarter pitcher over his past four starts.
"He's doing very well," Robinson said. "He's learning that he doesn't have to go out there and overpower people. He doesn't have to throw fastballs by everyone. He's enjoying this much more than he did before."
Robinson was also pleased with his team's hitting Friday.
The Nationals had 11 hits with seven of the eight starting position players getting at least one. Jose Vidro and Nick Johnson each had three hits, with Vidro driving in two runs and Brian Schneider hitting a three-run double that broke the game open.
"Everyone contributed tonight," Robinson said. "We got key base hits at the right times."
The same could not be said for the Brewers (26-29), who lost their sixth straight and dropped three games below .500 for the first time this season. During the losing streak, the Brewers have given up 10 or more runs three times and have been outscored 52-14.
Dana Eveland (0-3) took the loss in his sixth start for injured Brewers pitcher Ben Sheets. It was the third straight loss for Eveland, who gave up five runs and six hits in four innings.
After the game, Eveland was optioned back to Triple-A Nashville, along with right-hander Chris Mabeus. The Brewers purchased the contracts of right-hander Allan Simpson and left-hander Zack Jackson from Nashville.
"He made fewer mistakes tonight, but he was still erratic," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "We've been trying to get him to move on a downhill plane."
Eveland said he was not surprised by the move.
"You've got to get people out and go deep into ballgames and I have not been doing that," he said. "I just have to go down, work on some things and hopefully I'll be back up very soon."
The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the first on Johnson's RBI double and Ryan Zimmerman's sacrifice fly. Washington increased the lead to 3-0 in the second on Royce Clayton's RBI single.
The Brewers cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the inning. Corey Koskie reached first when Johnson's throw to Ortiz covering first base was wide. Koskie went to second when Schneider couldn't come up with the ball near the Brewers dugout. Damian Miller followed with his fifth home run of the season.
Washington scored a run without a hit in the fifth. After Clayton walked and Vidro was hit by a pitch, Johnson hit a slow grounder to second baseman Rickie Weeks. Prince Fielder couldn't handle Weeks' throw and dropped the ball, allowing Clayton to score. Marlon Byrd then singled to drive in Vidro for a 5-2 lead.
Pinch-hitter Corey Hart's RBI single in the seventh gave Washington an 8-4 lead and Vidro added a two-run double in the eighth.
To honor players from the Negro Leagues, the Brewers wore reproductions of uniforms worn by the Milwaukee Bears, the city's 1923 representative in the Negro National League. The Nationals wore uniforms of the Negro National League's Homestead Grays, who played in Washington from 1937-48. ... Weeks had two errors in the eighth to give him a team-high 18 for the season. ... The Nationals purchased the contract of LHP Bill Bray from Triple-A New Orleans on Friday. ... After the game, the Nationals placed RHP Santiago Ramirez on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 30 with an elbow strain and recalled IF Brandon Harris.