WASHINGTON -- The ball flew over the wall so often that it seemed like a team-wide round of batting practice for the Nationals. They matched a franchise record as they clubbed eight home runs during a historic display of power in a 15-2 drubbing of the Brewers on Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park.
The Nationals hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs in the third inning, which was only the eighth time in MLB history any team has accomplished the feat and first since 2010. Then, the Nats added another home run in the third to match the Major League record for five homers in one inning.
"It's like you almost can't believe it," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "We'll take it. I mean, that was some kind of inning -- and then the next inning also -- so we had a big offensive barrage today."
Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman paved the way with a pair of homers each as the Nationals set a team record for home runs in a game and tied the Expos record.
"It was fun. We got a lineup that could possibly do some special things," Harper said. "With the guys we have in this lineup right now, anything can happen."
"I felt like I made some decent pitches but they were just locked in on everything," said Brewers starter Michael Blazek, who surrendered six home runs while recording seven outs. "I threw all the different pitches I have, and they were hitting everything. It was tough."
It was more than enough cushion for Max Scherzer, who accomplished his own feat by notching 200 strikeouts for the sixth consecutive season, the longest active streak in the Majors.
The Brewers scored both their runs via the home run -- by Travis Shaw and Lewis Brinson -- as the two teams combined for 10 in the game, just one shy of the National League record of 11. (The MLB record is 12).
"It's a game you just turn the page on," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell after a 2-8 road trip dropped Milwaukee out of first place in the National League Central. "It didn't go well from pretty early on, and you turn the page. We've got a change of venue, which is welcome, and a flight home. We'll get back on it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Four in a row, plus one more: The Nationals had never hit four consecutive home runs in franchise history before their homer barrage in the third inning. After Scherzer drew a leadoff walk, Brian Goodwin got the action started, followed by homers from Wilmer Difo, Harper and Zimmerman.
"I looked over at Goody, and I went: 'Is that 4 home runs in a row?'" Zimmerman said. "I don't know. I was just watching everyone hit home runs."
After the first out of the inning, Anthony Rendon added a homer as well. All five homers came against Blazek, who was making his first career start. Blazek became the first starter in MLB history to allow six home runs in fewer than three innings.
"[The walk to Scherzer] frustrated me a little bit," Blazek said. "That was the last thing I really wanted to do right there, lead off the inning with a walk, especially to the pitcher. It just kept building and building and snowballing after that." More >
Scherzer notches 200: In the midst of all the home runs was another dominant outing by Scherzer, who struck out nine batters in six innings of one-run ball. By fanning Wily Peralta in the fifth inning, Scherzer -- who also turned 33 Thursday -- reached 200 strikeouts in a season for the sixth year in a row. He joins Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander as the only active pitchers with six seasons of 200 or more strikeouts.
"That's a good size plateau to reach, and [I'm] very appreciative to have the health be able to do this for six [seasons]," Scherzer said. "... The hard work I put in and all the coaches as well, catchers back there, all the coaches and video guys putting everything together -- that's the reason why, and the training staff as well. That's why I've been able to achieve that." More >
"We've got to play better. That's the best way to get the ship righted. We have to get a bunch of guys playing well. That's how you win baseball games" -- Counsell, on what his club can do to get back on track after a tough trip
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Zimmerman tied Frank Howard for the most home runs in D.C. baseball history with 237 after his second homer in the bottom of the fourth.
"I've had a chance to talk with him a bunch," Zimmerman said about Howard. "Just the stories he tells and the kind of guy he is, it's pretty cool to do something he did while he was here. Obviously playing here my entire career, things like that are pretty special."
Hernan Perez just needs an inning at catcher, and he'll have all nine positions covered in his Major League career. The Brewers' utility man became the first position player to pitch for Milwaukee in more than three years when he took the mound and pitched a scoreless eighth inning with Washington ahead, 15-2. Perez worked around an Andrew Stevenson single -- a memorable first Major League hit for the No. 7 ranked Nationals prospect per MLBPipeline.com -- and a walk while topping out at 83.1 mph, according to Statcast™.
"Slow and slower," Stevenson said to describe Perez's stuff on the mound.
Before Perez, the last Brewers position player to pitch was first baseman Lyle Overbay, who recorded an out against the Braves on May 19, 2014. Catcher Martin Maldonado pitched a month earlier. More >
Brewers: The Crew won't have time to sulk, because it returns home Friday to start a key six-game stretch at Miller Park against the NL Central-leading Cubs and the charging Cardinals. The homestand starts at 7:10 p.m. CT on Friday against the Cubs' big midseason acquisition, Jose Quintana, a pitcher the Brewers tried to get from the White Sox. Brent Suter starts for Milwaukee.
Nationals: The Nats welcome the Rockies to Nationals Park for the start of a three-game series Friday night. Right-hander Tanner Roark is hoping to have turned a corner after what was perhaps his best outing of the year against the D-backs, when he threw seven innings of two-run ball with 11 strikeouts.
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