WASHINGTON – Austin Kearns’ two-run double, his first extra-base hit in 15 games, capped a four-run rally in the fifth and the Washington Nationals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 on Saturday night.
Jason Simontacchi (6-6) allowed eight hits and three runs – on three solo homers – in six innings for his fourth victory in six starts. He walked one and struck out five as Washington, which had lost nine of 11, halted a two-game skid.
Prince Fielder hit two homers, adding to his National League lead, and Ryan Braun also connected for the Brewers, who have homered in 16 straight games. It’s their longest streak since a 19-game run from June 11-30, 1996.
Milwaukee’s Corey Hart went 0-for-4, snapping his hitting streak at 22 games, tied for the third-longest streak in team history.
Damian Miller matched a career high with four hits for the Central Division-leading Brewers, who have lost three of four games. It was Miller’s second four-hit game in six days.
Johnny Estrada hit a pinch-hit home run in the ninth – his eighth – off Chad Cordero to pull the Brewers within one. Hart walked with one out and reached second on a wild pitch, but Cordero retired J.J. Hardy and Braun on groundouts for his 15th save in 21 chances.
Braun and Fielder homered in a four-pitch span off Simontacchi in the first. Braun crushed a 3-2 fastball into the upper deck in left field, and three pitches later, Fielder hit a blast to right-center.
The Nationals batted around in the fifth, rallying for four runs on five straight hits off Jeff Suppan (8-8).
Ronnie Belliard singled with one out and went to third when center fielder Tony Gwynn misplayed Ryan Zimmerman’s single. Dmitri Young followed with an RBI single off second baseman Rickie Weeks’ glove and Ryan Church tied it with an opposite-field liner to left. Kearns then doubled to the wall in left center for a 4-2 lead.
Fielder opened the sixth with his 29th homer. It was Fielder’s fourth multiple-homer game this season.
Simontacchi then escaped a two-out jam with runners on the corners, getting the last out of the sixth when center fielder Ryan Langerhans made a fully extended, diving grab of pinch-hitter Tony Graffanino’s drive to the left-center gap.
Suppan allowed four runs and six hits. He walked five and struck out three in five innings.
Felipe Lopez’s RBI double gave Washington an insurance run in the seventh.
Notes: The Brewers have hit two homers in an inning eight times this year. … Washington has been outscored 60-30 in the first inning. … Church was hit by a pitch in the second for a team-high sixth time this season. … When Weeks was walked intentionally in the fourth, it marked the first base on balls issued by a Nationals pitcher since the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game, a span of 22 innings.