Major League Baseball

Brewers, Nats regroup for finale after Saturday’s marathon

MLB8BREWERS (64-59) AT NATIONALS (66-56)
1:35 p.m. ET; MASN2, FSWI, MLB.TV

The Milwaukee Brewers (-0.5) and Washington Nationals (+0.5) combined for 29 runs and 38 hits in 20 minutes short of six full hours of baseball on Saturday night, and the two clubs will have a quick turnaround on Sunday.

Milwaukee beat Washington 15-14 in 14 innings on Eric Thames’ two-run homer, and the Brewers will be looking to improve on their 17-10 mark against the National League East in the series finale.

After combining for 11 home runs on Saturday, the two clubs will meet Sunday at Nationals Park to conclude the series.

The Brewers swung the bats much better a night after going just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, in Friday’s 2-1 loss.

They were 5-for-9 in Saturday’s epic contest, but it was the long ball that proved to be the difference. Milwaukee slugged seven homers, tying the franchise record for a game, after squandering a 5-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings.

Christian Yelich hit a pair to give him 41, tying the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger and the Angels’ Mike Trout for most in the majors. Ryan Braun hit two, and Mike Moustakas and Trent Graham each went deep once for the Brew Crew.

Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said before the outburst he was optimistic the offense would get going and produce like it usually does.

“We’re doing the right things offensively,” Counsell said. “Those hits are going to come for us.”

Milwaukee will start steady right-hander Chase Anderson (5-2, 3.78 ERA), who has become the club’s most consistent starter despite not beginning the season in the rotation.

Anderson, 31, has been dependable in turning in rock-solid outings, allowing three or fewer runs in 10 consecutive starts and 22 of 24 overall. He has yet to face Washington this year.

In his career against the Nationals, Anderson is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts — a good one at home in 2018 (one run in five innings) and a terrible one in 2014 (six runs in two innings).

Overworked lefty closer Sean Doolittle entered with a three-run lead before blowing the save Saturday night, allowing four runs on three homers, including two to left-handed hitters Yelich and Moustakas.

The Nationals blew another chance when they had the bases loaded and the winning run 90 feet away in the ninth, but Brewers closer Josh Hader struck out Trea Turner, Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon to force extra innings.

The Nationals tied it 13-13 after Yelich lashed his second homer in the 13th, but Thames provided the heroics in the 14th.

Washington manager Dave Martinez said Doolittle’s health isn’t an issue.

“He says he’s fine,” Martinez said. “He really is, and I’ve got to trust him. We had a conversation with him today, and he said he was good to go.”

Right-hander Erick Fedde has had big shoes to occupy in stepping in for three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who threw again on Saturday and is close to returning to action.

Fedde (3-2, 4.09) has been sharp in his last two starts, tossing 12 innings and yielding just two runs in wins over Cincinnati and San Francisco.

The 26-year-old, a 2014 first-round pick from UNLV, threw one scoreless inning of one-hit relief against Milwaukee this season in his first appearance ever against the Brewers.

–Field Level Media

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