WASHINGTON -- This has been a rough season for the Milwaukee Brewers, who fired manager Ron Roenicke in May but are still last in the tough National League Central.
But the Brewers have held their own against teams from the National League East, and on Friday they made life miserable for the defending division champion Washington Nationals.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy had three hits and scored twice, and the Brewers broke open the game with five runs in the seventh inning to beat the struggling Nationals 10-3. Milwaukee is now 16-12 against teams from the N.L. East -- their only winning record against any division in the league.
"We had a nice night offensively," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. "Gio is a pretty good test and I thought we just swung the bats really well."
Khris Davis, the Milwaukee left fielder, said facing a pennant contender is good motivation.
"Definitely. It is just fun to compete," said Davis, who had one hit and drove in a run. "None of us like losing. Nobody does."
The Nationals (60-61) lost for the eighth time in 11 games. Two of Washington's long relievers Friday -- Doug Fister and Tanner Roark -- were two of the team's best starters during a National League East-winning season last year.
"It's just one game. That is why we play 162," Fister said. "Guys are playing hard. We have not had it go our way yet."
The Brewers scored nearly every way possible in the seventh.
Pinch hitter Scooter Gennett and Herrera had bases-loaded singles to drive in runs and make it 7-2.
The next run came on a catcher's interference call on Washington's Jose Lobaton. Shortstop Jean Seguara hit a sacrifice fly to right, with a second run scoring on the play when Bryce Harper's throw got past Lobaton to make it 10-2.
Harper cut the margin to 5-2 with a solo homer in the sixth. It was the 31st long ball of the year for the right fielder, who entered the day leading the National League in home runs.
"It's a loss. We will come back tomorrow," said Harper, who has carried the Nationals offensively this year. "We have an opportunity this week (to get on a run)."
Milwaukee starter Jimmy Nelson (10-9) gave up five hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings. Right-hander Kyle Lohse pitched three innings of one-run ball to earn his first save.
The loser was Gonzalez (9-6), who gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in five innings. He has allowed 11 runs (10 earned) in his past two starts.
Washington left fielder Michael A. Taylor hit a solo homer in the seventh to make it 10-3.
Trea Turner made his major league debut for Washington when he entered the game at shortstop during a double switch in the top of the seventh. Turner went 0-for-2, including a game-ending groundout.
"You have to be ready for anything," Turner said of how he made his debut. "The fans have been awesome. I wasn't that nervous."
Said manager Matt Williams of Turner's debut on a double switch: "It's not the ideal situation. He will have opportunities."
The Nationals grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a bloop RBI single to left by Lobaton.
The Brewers scored two runs in the third off Gonzalez, who had allowed two runs or less in eight of his previous nine starts. Lucroy lined a double over the head of Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth and right fielder Ryan Braun had a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1.
The Brewers scored three runs in the fifth to take a 5-1 lead.
Davis, who had three homers during a recent homestand, had a sacrifice fly to center to give the Brewers a 3-1 lead. The next batter was center fielder Domingo Santana, who hit a two-run homer to left after getting called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs earlier in the day.
"That home run by Domingo was a really nice at-bat and it was a big spot in the game to break it open a little bit," Counsell said. Santana hit two homers earlier this year with Houston.
NOTES: The Nationals called up INF Trea Turner from Triple-A Syracuse, where he was hitting .314 with 14 steals in 188 at-bats. INF/OF Tyler Moore was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left ankle sprain. Manager Matt Williams said Moore stepped on a ball in the batting cage Thursday and rolled the ankle. RHP Aaron Barrett was also moved from the 15-day to the 60-day DL. ... The Brewers called up OF Domingo Santana, who was hitting .380 in 20 games with Triple-A Colorado Springs. He was acquired in a trade with Houston on July 30. He took the spot of RHP Tyler Cravy, who went on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a right elbow impingement. ... Brewers RHP Taylor Jungmann (7-4, 2.23 ERA) will pitch Saturday in the second game of the series against Nationals RHP Joe Ross (3-5, 3.86). ... Washington 3B Yunel Escobar left the game in the top of the first after he was shaken up near the railing while chasing a pop foul off the bat of Milwaukee 1B Adam Lind. Escobar did not make the catch and came off the field on his own power. Washington 2B Anthony Rendon moved to third and Danny Espinosa entered the game to play second. Manager Matt Williams said after the game Escobar had a hyperextended neck and is day-to-day. ... Brewers P Neal Cotts, who retired the one batter he faced in the sixth, was traded after the game to the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later or cash.