WASHINGTON -- Catcher Wilson Ramos, fresh off the disabled list, crushed a three-run, tie-breaking homer to lift the Washington Nationals to an 8-5 win Thursday over the last-place Milwaukee Brewers.
The Nationals' July 4 win in the nation's capital salvaged a split of the four-game series. The team wore patriotic red, white and blue jersey tops for the special 11:05 a.m. start.
Facing reliever Brandon Kintzler, Ramos hammered a hanging 82-mph curve over the Milwaukee bullpen to break a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning, after the Brewers scored three times in the top of the frame. Ramos, who had five RBIs, took a curtain call after his third homer in 52 at-bats this season.
Washington's Ian Desmond, moved up to the second spot in the order, singled in his first three at-bats and created havoc on the bases. Jayson Werth also had three hits, including a two-out single in the seventh to set up Ramos' homer.
Desmond normally bats fifth or sixth and leads the team with 15 home runs and 49 RBI. He also walked, stole two bases and scored two runs.
Washington rookie starting pitcher Taylor Jordan, making his second major-league appearance, went 5 2/3 innings on a humid day. The righty graduated from Merritt Island High in Florida, about 12 miles from the Nats' spring-training home in Viera. He went 7-0 at Double-A Harrisburg before his call-up to face the Mets on Saturday.
But Milwaukee handed Jordan a no-decision when they rallied in the seventh on Carlos Gomez's two-run homer off reliever Drew Storen. The Brewers cut the lead to 5-3 earlier in the inning on a solo homer by Yuniesky Betancourt, also off Storen, who ended up getting the win (3-2).
Ramos had also put the Nationals up 5-2 in the sixth with a bases-loaded, two-run single off reliever Burke Badenhop.
Tyler Clippard pitched a scoreless eighth for Washington and Rafael Soriano worked the ninth for his 22nd save.
Washington (43-42) led 3-1 lead in the third when Ryan Zimmerman's sacrifice fly scored Desmond. The run came after Desmond and Bryce Harper pulled a double steal. The Brewers tied to throw out Harper at second as Desmond took third. But Harper got in a rundown and first baseman Sean Halton attempted to cut down Desmond rounding third, but he dove back safely as Harper made it to second.
Donovan Hand, who was making his 12th big-league appearance and third start, allowed three runs in five innings for the Brewers. Ex-Washington pitcher Tom Gorzelanny (1-1) took the loss as he gave up Werth's hit in the seventh before being lifted for Kintzler.
Notes. Ramos was reinstated from the 15-day DL before Thursday's game. C Jhonatan Solano was sent to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for him. ... Francisco Rodriguez got his 301st save Wednesday and moved into 23rd on the all-time list. ... Milwaukee C Jonathan Lucroy entered Thursday with 40 RBI as a catcher, the second-best mark among Major League catchers ... P Lucas Giolito, a top Washington prospect, made his 2013 debut Wednesday in the Gulf Coast League, and retired one batter while allowing one hit and two runs. A first-round pick in 2012, he turns 19 July 14. "He felt great post game," Doug Harris, the Director of Player Development for the Nationals, told reporters. "He was a little amped up which is understandable. His command wasn't crisp but his stuff was very good." ... Neil Diamond performed a new tune, "Freedom Song," in the top of the fourth inning.