Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun (8) reacts after striking out while batting against the Washington Nationals during a baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Jacquelyn Martin
August 22, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) Nationals outfielder Michael Taylor said he's been focusing lately on making contact at the plate rather than crushing baseballs.

Lately, he's also been crushing baseballs.

Taylor hit a home run for the third straight game, rookie Joe Ross allowed one run in seven innings and the Nationals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1 on Saturday night.

Taylor connected on a two-run shot for Washington, which had lost 8 of 10 and began play five games behind the Mets in the National League East.

''It's funny how it works, I guess,'' Taylor said of his recent approach and success.

''Just try to stay quiet and don't let things speed up. Go up there and have a good at-bat instead of trying to hunt for the results.''

The 24-year-old, who had just 39 at-bats for Washington in 2014, has played in 107 games this season due to injuries to Jayson Werth and Denard Span.

Taylor is hitting .244 (including 4 for 11 in his last three games) with 13 home runs and 55 RBIs.

Anthony Rendon homered and doubled to drive in two runs for Washington.

Ross (4-5), 0-2 with a 9.35 ERA in his two previous starts, gave up six hits, struck out four and didn't walk a batter in defeating Milwaukee for the second time.

''Used my changeup a lot more today,'' Ross said. ''I didn't throw it a ton, but definitely threw it more than I have the past few games.''

Wilson Ramos doubled, singled and scored twice for the Nationals, who had 11 hits.

Khris Davis hit his 15th home run leading off the seventh for the Brewers. It was Davis' eighth homer in his last 15 games.

Milwaukee rookie right-hander Taylor Jungmann (7-5) endured his worst outing of the season. He lasted four innings, allowing a season-high five runs on seven hits.

''It was one of those games where I felt like I was going to have to battle a little bit,'' Jungmann said. ''I just really never got into a rhythm.''

Milwaukee's defense helped Jungmann out of trouble in the first, but in the second, Ramos singled with two outs. Taylor followed by slicing a 2-1 pitch into the right-center field seats.

Jungmann had gone eight straight starts without allowing a homer.

The Nationals added three runs more in the fourth on RBI hits by Ramos, Werth and Rendon.

Werth had two hits after originally being scheduled for a day off.

Rendon homered into the Nationals' bullpen in the seventh and also walked twice.


Nationals: 3B Yunel Escobar, who left Friday night's game with a hyperextended neck after a collision while trying to catch a foul ball, was not in the lineup. ''He's a little sore today, to be expected,'' manager Matt Williams said. ... CF Denard Span (back tightness) played nine innings Saturday night with Double-A Harrisburg in his fifth rehab outing, going 2 for 4 with a walk and three runs scored.


Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (6-13, 4.98 ERA) looks to bounce back from his previous outing when he lasted only five innings, giving up five runs in a 6-2 loss to the Marlins. In six starts since returning from the DL with right shoulder tendinitis, Garza is 2-3 with a 3.44 ERA.

Nationals: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (9-8, 3.44 ERA) is 4-1 with a 3.71 ERA in six starts against the Brewers. He's 1-3 with a 4.01 ERA since the All-Star break.


The Brewers came up with two stellar defensive plays at the expense of Werth. Center fielder Shane Peterson, after making a diving catch on Bryce Harper's liner in the first, threw Werth out at third base when he tried to tag up. Three innings later, shortstop Jean Segura took a relay and threw out Werth at home plate on a double by Rendon.


Bryce Harper singled in the seventh. He's reached base in 44 of his last 47 games and in 105 of the 115 he's played this season. Harper has 90 walks to go along with his NL-leading 31 homers.

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