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Milwaukee at Washington

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Milwaukee (32-49)0000221005112
Washington (42-40) «10520002x10130

Zimmermann first in NL to 12 wins, Nats rout Brewers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- On his first swing back from a knee injury, Bryce Harper hit a curtain-call home run.

Welcome back, slugger.

"Typical Bryce right there, he's all about the drama," teammate Jayson Werth said. "He didn't disappoint us, I guess."

Harper's first-inning solo shot Monday night was the sparkplug for the Washington Nationals in a 10-5 pounding of the slumping Milwaukee Brewers.

It was the 20-year-old Harper's only hit of the night, but the domino effect was real. Werth, unhappily bumped to second in the lineup because of Harper's return, got five RBI. Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman was an unexpected offensive juggernaut with a team-high three hits, including a double to start a five-run third inning and a single to open a two-run fourth.

Put it all together and the Nationals had their second runaway win in as many days. After toying with .500 for the entire month of June, Washington moved two games above the break-even mark for the first time since late May.

"It's kind of contagious. Everybody knows we've got some work to do," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "Let's get down to business. Let's get serious."

Harper missed 31 games with bursitis in his left knee -- the most lingering fallout from his collision with the Dodger Stadium wall -- and was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game. Batting third and playing left field, he launched the second pitch he saw, a fastball from Yovani Gallardo (6-8), into the visitors' bullpen beyond left field for an opposite-field homer.

Harper raised his right arm and pointed to the fans as he finished his familiar sprint around the bases. After lots of high-fives in the dugout, he returned to the top of the steps and gave a thumbs-up curtain call.

"I felt like I was back on opening day," said Harper, who homered in his first two at-bats of the season. "I was trying to get something I could drive. I got a pitch I could handle a little bit and put it where I wanted to."

The solo shot was Harper's 13th homer of the season and 24th RBI. He hurt his knee in the mishap in Los Angeles on May 13 and reinjured it several times over the following two weeks before going on the disabled list. He went 4 for 11 in minor league rehab games last week.

He finished 1 for 4 with a walk on Monday. He slid hard into second base on a double play in the sixth inning, showing no signs of being gimpy in his knee.

The Nationals improved to 26-19 when Harper plays; they are 16-21 when he doesn't. He and the teammates made life easy for Zimmermann (12-3), who had an 8-0 lead at one point and pitched six innings. He allowed four runs and tied unbeaten Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers for the major league lead in wins.

Zimmermann said his night at the plate was better than his night on the mound. He joked about the size of his bat, initially claiming it was 39 inches instead of 34.

"I pitch all right," Zimmerman said. "But definitely three hits is awesome."

Werth's mood, by contrast, was nowhere near jovial, especially for a player with his best RBI game since 2009. He kept reporters waiting for nearly an hour after the game and proclaimed himself "just a grunt out here playing ball."

"I don't necessarily like hitting second," Werth said. "But if that's the best for our team, I've said it before: Last year when I led off, it wasn't personally the best fit for me, but it was the best for our team and that's why I felt like it should have happened. And the same goes for me hitting second now."

The Nationals, perhaps finally finding their stride after a middling first half of the season, have won five of seven to pull within six games of the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East. Washington scored a season-high 13 runs on Sunday against the New York Mets.

Meanwhile, the Brewers, missing injured slugger Ryan Braun, have lost six straight and are 32-49 at the midpoint of their season.

Gallardo struggled for the second straight start. With the Brewers' bullpen spent after Sunday's 14-inning loss to Pittsburgh, the right-hander was left to fend for himself until he was pulled in the fourth inning. He allowed eight runs, and his ERA rose from 4.20 to 4.78.

"You don't expect to see it from Yovani because he's been so consistent through his career, but he's at a point right now where for some reason he's deep in counts to almost every batter," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "We're 3-2 and he's having to make a great pitch, and you can't survive if you keep doing that."

Notes

  • Johnson said LHP Ross Detwiler had a good bullpen session and is on pace to start Wednesday as scheduled. Detwiler had stiffness in his lower back after his last start.
  • The Nationals optioned RHP Erik Davis to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for Harper.
  • Brewers RHP Kyle Lohse will make his next start Wednesday on two days rest. Lohse started Sunday, but he went only 1 2/3 innings before a 2-hour rain delay.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Fans are ecstatic to see the return of Bryce Harper, who rewards them with a home run in his first at-bat. (USATSI)
Fans are ecstatic to see the return of Bryce Harper, who rewards them with a home run in his first at-bat. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Milwaukee

J. Francisco
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Washington

J. Werth
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 5
 

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Milwaukee Brewers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Norichika Aoki, RF5021000 .286
Jean Segura, SS5011002 .325
Carlos Gomez, CF5100033 .309
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4021000 .278
Jonathan Lucroy, C4010002 .267
Rickie Weeks, 2B4111012 .228
Juan Francisco, 1B4221011 .232
Sean Halton, LF4120010 .400
Yovani Gallardo, P1000000 .242
    Burke Badenhop, P1000012 .000
    Logan Schafer, PH1000001 .206
Totals38511517  
a-grounded out for Badenhop in the 6th
Batting
2B - Aramis Ramirez (11, Stammen), Sean Halton (1, Zimmermann)
HR - Rickie Weeks (9, Zimmermann), Juan Francisco (10, Zimmermann)
RBI - Norichika Aoki (16), Jean Segura (33), Aramis Ramirez (25), Rickie Weeks (20), Juan Francisco (27)
2-OUT RBI - Aramis Ramirez (4), Rickie Weeks (3), Juan Francisco (8)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Ramirez-Weeks-Francisco
E - Jean Segura 2 (9, Throwing)
Milwaukee Brewers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Yovani Gallardo (L,6-8) 3988221 4.78
Burke Badenhop 2200020 3.20
Tom Gorzelanny 2000120 2.31
Johnny Hellweg 1221110 20.25
WP - Yovani Gallardo (3), Johnny Hellweg (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Yovani Gallardo 79-45, Burke Badenhop 28-19, Tom Gorzelanny 31-21, Johnny Hellweg 26-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Yovani Gallardo 3-4, Burke Badenhop 1-3, Tom Gorzelanny 2-1, Johnny Hellweg 2-1
Batters Faced - Yovani Gallardo 20, Burke Badenhop 8, Tom Gorzelanny 6, Johnny Hellweg 7
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF3310202 .263
Jayson Werth, RF5125020 .275
Bryce Harper, LF4111113 .286
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4122112 .276
Adam LaRoche, 1B5111014 .256
Ian Desmond, SS4011020 .275
Anthony Rendon, 2B4010001 .308
Kurt Suzuki, C4000002 .222
Jordan Zimmermann, P3230000 .171
    Chad Tracy, PH1010000 .145
Totals3710131047  
a-doubled for Clippard in the 8th
Batting
2B - Denard Span (17, Gallardo), Jayson Werth (8, Gallardo), Adam LaRoche (11, Gallardo), Ian Desmond (22, Gallardo), Jordan Zimmermann (1, Gallardo), Chad Tracy (1, Hellweg)
HR - Bryce Harper (13, Gallardo)
RBI - Jayson Werth 5 (26), Bryce Harper (24), Ryan Zimmerman 2 (43), Adam LaRoche (37), Ian Desmond (49)
2-OUT RBI - Bryce Harper (6), Ryan Zimmerman (21)
SB - Ryan Zimmerman (4, 2nd base off Gallardo/Lucroy)
Team LOB - 7
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jordan Zimmermann (W,12-3) 6944052 2.46
Craig Stammen 0.2211000 3.32
Drew Storen (H,11) 0.1000000 3.82
Tyler Clippard (H,13) 1000010 2.34
Fernando Abad 1000110 1.15
Pitches-Strikes - Jordan Zimmermann 88-67, Craig Stammen 8-6, Drew Storen 4-2, Tyler Clippard 8-6, Fernando Abad 15-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jordan Zimmermann 10-3, Craig Stammen 2-0, Fernando Abad 2-0
Batters Faced - Jordan Zimmermann 27, Craig Stammen 4, Drew Storen 1, Tyler Clippard 3, Fernando Abad 4
Game Information
Attendance - 24889
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Mark Carlson, First Base - Brian Knight, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Gerry Davis