MILWAUKEE -- — Christian Yelich had a grand slam in the eighth inning, a solo shot in the first and finished with six RBI as the Milwaukee Brewers held on for a 9-6 victory over the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.
Yelich’s slam gave the Brewers a 9-4 lead. Washington scored two in the ninth, but left the bases loaded.
“Really just trying to add on to the lead there, we were already up by one,” said Yelich, who homered on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. “Just trying to really get something into the outfield so we can tag and tack on an extra run.”
Luis Urias reached on catcher’s interference to open the eighth against Javy Guerra (0-1). Jace Peterson singled and Jackie Bradley Jr. was hit by a pitch. After Willy Adames popped out, Kolten Wong was hit by a pitch to force in the go-ahead run at 5-4.
Yelich, who also had an RBI single, then drove a 3-2 pitch 454 feet to right-center for his eighth homer of the season.
“He got 3-2 on a really good hitter in Yelich and had to throw a strike with the bases loaded, and Yelich didn’t miss that pitch,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He threw it pretty much right down the middle, maybe little in, and he crushed it.”
Devin Williams (7-1) struck out two of three hitters he faced in the eighth for the victory.
Yelich’s homer in the first inning was his first since July 18. Yelich, who was on the COVID-19 injured list from July 27-Aug. 6, had 36 homers in 2018 as MVP and 44 in 2019 before a season-ending fractured kneecap. He dropped to 12 homers in 58 games last season.
“Obviously, it hasn’t been the greatest year performance-wise for myself,” Yelich said. “The story is not written yet. We have a long way to go. There’s a lot of baseball left to play, not only in the regular season, but hopefully the postseason for us. I think this thing’s far from over.”
Wong’s heads-up base running keyed a three-run fifth as the Brewers went ahead 4-3. Lorenzo Cain drew a walk with one out and moved to third on Wong’s single. Gabe Klobosits relieved and Yelich delivered an RBI single, cutting the lead to 3-2. After Yelich stole second, Omar Narvaez fouled out to first baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
Catcher Tres Barrera converged on the pop foul, leaving home plate uncovered. Wong broke from third and slid home ahead of Zimmerman’s diving tag attempt. The call was upheld on review. Eduardo Escobar followed with an RBI single.
“As soon as I tagged up, I saw the catcher vacate and no one was at home,” Wong said. “Basically, it was just a race between me and Zimmerman. I wanted to take my chances and be aggressive right there.”
Washington went up 3-1 with a run in the top half on Alcides Escobar’s RBI double. The Nationals scored two runs in the first on Juan Soto’s RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Zimmerman.
Nationals: C Alex Avila, on the injured list since July 3 with bilateral calf strains, continues to improve. “He’s getting better. He ran about 70 percent yesterday,” Martinez said. “He’s trying to get ready. We’re hoping that he’ll be a little better here. He’ll start getting things rolling pretty quickly now that he’s able to run a little bit. Hopefully it won’t take him that much longer.”
Brewers: OF Tyrone Taylor was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain. Taylor, hitting .245 with 10 homers in 82 games, started Friday night and was 0 for 2 before exiting after four innings. RHP Eric Yardley was recalled from Triple-A Nashville.
LHP Sean Nolin (0-1, 12.00 ERA) makes his second start of the season for the Nationals in the series finale Sunday afternoon. RHP Adrian Houser (7-5, 3.55) makes his first start for Milwaukee since going on the COVID-19 IL on Aug. 7. House is 4-0 with a 2.83 ERA in his last 12 games, including 10 starts.
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