Jonathan Villar and the Milwaukee Brewers fought past the Washington Nationals on Thursday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
MILWAUKEE -- Jonathan Villar homered for the second consecutive game and Zach Davies went seven innings for the second straight outing as the Milwaukee Brewers handed the Washington Nationals a 6-3 loss Thursday night at Miller Park.
Davies (16-7) held the NL East-leading Nationals to a pair of runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four and has a 1.77 ERA over his last nine starts.
Villar, meanwhile, is showing signs of life after a season-long slump, finishing with at least two hits for the third consecutive game.
Trea Turner finished a home run shy of the cycle for the Nationals, who got a rare tough outing from right-hander Gio Gonzalez.
Gonzalez (13-6) had been dominant over the last month, going 5-0 with a 0.79 ERA in his last five starts but gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks and struck out seven over a six-inning effort.
A stroke of luck let Milwaukee take an early lead.
Hernan Perez reached on a two-out double, stole third then took a chance when Ryan Braun popped out to foul territory down the first-base line.
Daniel Murphy made a perfect throw with plenty of time to catch Perez, but catcher Matt Wieters dropped the ball and the Brewers went up 1-0.
The Nationals returned the favor in the third, taking advantage of two dropped balls by Brewers defenders and went ahead, 2-1, on an RBI double by Turner and a run-scoring groundout by Jayson Werth.
Gonzalez ran into trouble in the bottom of the inning, allowing a leadoff single to Davies, who moved to second on a poorly fielded bunt single by Villar.
Domingo Santana drew a walk to load the bases and Jesus Aguilar made Gonzalez pay, ripping a single into left that scored a pair of runs. But a quick cutoff by Anthony Redon caught Santana trying to get back to second and Gonzalez escaped the inning.
Davies opened the fifth with a walk and Villar followed, sending an 0-1 curveball to center for his 11th homer of the season, giving Milwaukee a 5-2 lead.
Turner led off the eighth with a triple and scored on Werth's groundout to make it a 5-3 game.
Stephen Vogt's third hit of the night drove in an insurance run for the Brewers in the eighth inning and Corey Knebel worked a perfect ninth for his 31st save.
NOTES: Brewers manager Craig Counsell announced that struggling RHP Matt Garza would not make his next scheduled start Sunday against the Nationals but has not named a replacement yet. ... Nationals manager Dusty Baker said all of his starters would remain on regular rest through their next turns in the rotation. Baker originally planned to use an extra starter Saturday and employ a six-man rotation to give the regular starters an extra day of rest. ... The Brewers were again without 3B Travis Shaw (sore foot) and C Manny Pina (hip). Counsell said Shaw could return as early as Friday while Pina will undergo tests on his hip.