By Sam Bush
It took forever for the Nationals to get to Milwaukee.
They should have stayed in Philly.
They blew a pair of leads, made four errors and lost to the Brewers 5-3 as Max Scherzer’s winless streak reached five.
The Nationals’ charter flight was delayed eight hours as the plane sat on the tarmac at Philadelphia because of mechanical problems Sunday night after a 7-1 defeat to the Phillies. They finally got off the plane about 3 a.m. and returned to their hotel, then headed to Milwaukee on Monday and arrived after noon.
Washington led 2-0 in the first and 3-2 in the seventh, but Milwaukee rallied to extend its winning streak to four. The Nationals committed a season-high four errors: catcher Kurt Suzuki made two, and shortstop Carter Kieboom and pitcher Tony Sipp one each.
“I can’t make any excuses,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “I know before the game, the guys were pretty amped up to play.”
Scherzer reached double digits in strikeouts for the third time this season and increased his total to 72 in eight starts but is 0-2 in his last five outings.
He allowed two runs — one earned — and six hits in six innings, striking out 10 and walking one. Scherzer threw a season-high 112 pitches, escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam in his final inning when he struck out Orlando Arcia on a foul tip, then got pinch-hitter Ryan Braun to ground out.
“Look, they don’t feel sorry for us,” Scherzer said. “We all bonded together because of it.”
Ben Gamel, Christian Yelich and Yasmani Grandal hit consecutive singles off Dan Jennings (0-2) starting the seventh, with Grandal driving in the tying run. Jesus Aguilar hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly off Wander Suero. Gamel, who had three hits, added a run-scoring single against Sipp in the eighth.
“We did a nice job against their bullpen and caught some breaks,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Alex Claudio (1-1) won despite allowing a home run by Adam Eaton that put Washington ahead 3-2 in the seventh.
Junior Guerra struck out two in a perfect ninth for his second save.
Milwaukee starter Jhoulys Chacin allowed two runs and three hits in five innings, including Howie Kendrick’s two-run homer in the first for the Nationals.
Mike Moustakas hit an RBI single in the bottom half on a line drive off the glove of leaping Kieboom, and Milwaukee tied the score in the second when Kieboom allowed Gamel’s two-out grounder to bounce off him for an error that let Aguilar score from third.
Martinez was looking forward to getting to his hotel room in Milwaukee.
“Hop in that bed. Put the covers over my head and not see daylight until about noon,” he said.