Brewers 8, Nationals 2

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WASHINGTON (AP)—Wes Obermueller had a perfect game with one out in the seventh inning.

Then, for the first time all game, he shook off his catcher’s sign.

“He called a fastball in,” Obermueller said. “And I wanted fastball away.”

Bad decision. The fastball away was a little too high. Jamey Carroll slapped the 1-2 pitch into right field for a clean single, forcing Obermueller to settle for a victory without the immortality in the Milwaukee Brewers’ 8-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

“I won’t ever second-guess my catcher again, I’ll tell you that,” Obermueller said.

Still, the third-year right-hander’s first victory since last September was a gem. He allowed two hits, struck out four and didn’t walk a batter through eight scoreless innings, a feat made more amazing by the fact that he is a spot starter while Ben Sheets is on the disabled list with an inner ear infection.

“It’s a great game,” manager Ned Yost said. “He really picked us up when we needed it.”

Brady Clark homered on the first pitch of the game and went 4-for-5 to help the Brewers end a three-game losing streak. Carlos Lee added a three-run shot in the second, chasing Nationals starter Claudio Vargas (0-1).

The loss ended Washington’s three-game winning streak. In one of the quietest ejections in baseball, manager Frank Robinson was tossed in the seventh inning for arguing a strike called against Ryan Church. The ejection went unnoticed—even by some players—until the manager mentioned it in passing at the end of his postgame news conference.

Obermueller (1-0) was making his third start and ninth appearance of the season. He had not lasted more than 4 2-3 innings this season and had allowed 24 hits in 19 1-3 innings. His last victory was an 8-0 shutout of Houston on Sept. 25, and his last road win came more than a year ago, on April 14, 2004, against San Francisco.

He wasn’t dominant—his first pitch was a ball to eight of the 19 hitters he faced during his perfect stretch—but the Nationals weren’t even threatening to reach base. Bill Hall had to back up to field Marlon Byrd’s grounder in the hole in the fifth, but the shortstop threw out the speedy Byrd with room to spare. Obermueller himself made a nice play to jump and grab a chopper off the bat of Brian Schneider to lead off the six, but once again the play at first wasn’t close.

Otherwise, the Brewers were making routine plays. Each outfielder caught a fly ball in the first inning, and every infielder had a putout or assist after three innings.

“You go some nights where if they make contact, it’s going to find a hole,” Obermueller said. “Tonight was one of those nights where if they make contact, the defense is going to pick me up.”

Obermueller said he started thinking about a no-hitter in the fourth inning. By the fifth, he found that his teammates were leaving him alone in the dugout.

“It was pretty quiet,” Obermueller said. “I was just getting my water and sitting by myself. … You get a little anxious because you think about it. You try not to look at the scoreboard.”

Finally, Carroll broke up the perfect game.

“He was just moving the ball in and out,” Carroll said. “We were hitting some balls and they were going right at them. He just pitched where he wanted to pitch. It seemed like we were hitting the ball here and there, and sooner or later we were going to get to him.”

Nick Johnson followed with a hit that should have been an out—a routine fly ball landed between right fielder Geoff Jenkins and center fielder Clark, who appeared confused over who had called for the ball. Obermueller got out of the inning when Tony Blanco hit into a force and Church grounded to first.

Ricky Bottalico pitched the ninth for the Brewers, allowing Johnson’s two-run homer.

While Obermueller made easy work of the Nationals, Vargas struggled from the first pitch.

Vargas was making his second start of the season after spending time on the disabled list with a sprained right elbow. His first outing showed promise: no earned runs in six innings in a no decision last week against Arizona.

This time, he retired just four of the 13 batters he faced. He allowed seven hits and walked two. Clark led off with a homer to left field, his fifth and second to lead off a game. The Brewers picked up a second run when Lyle Overbay double home Jenkins.

Vargas allowed four straight hits in the second inning. Jenkins singled home Clark, and Lee’s home run went just inside the left foul pole to make it 6-0.

“I missed a lot of pitches up in the zone,” Vargas said. “It’s a bad day. They swung at everything and they hit me.”

The Brewers added two runs in the ninth on Lee’s sacrifice fly and Damian Miller’s fielder’s choice.


Nationals RHP Tomo Ohka made his first appearance since his demotion from the starting rotation and his only the second relief appearance of his career. Ohka, who had not pitched since May 6, threw 5 2-3 innings, allowing no runs and two hits…. Clark’s four-hit game was his third this season and seventh of his career. … There has been only one no-hitter in Brewers history: Juan Nieves at Baltimore on April 15, 1987. … After the game, workers began yet another overhaul of the RFK Stadium pitcher’s mound, which has been a problem throughout the season.

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