Jordan Zimmermann struck out five over six strong innings, as the Washington Nationals edged the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-1, Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Miller Park.
Zimmermann (13-6) scattered four hits and as many walks over his scoreless outing to snap a three-start skid. Rafael Soriano retired the Brewers in order in the ninth to secure his 27th save of the season.
"I had pretty good stuff," Zimmermann said. "I was able to get a few ground balls and some easy outs when I needed them."
Bryce Harper hammered a solo homer and finished with two RBI, while Denard Span and Wilson Ramos each collected two hits and a run scored for the Nationals, who were coming off back-to-back losses to the Detroit Tigers.
Milwaukee reliever Alfredo Figaro (1-3) was tagged with the loss after giving up a run on two hits over four frames in relief of starter Tom Gorzelanny, who exited in the second inning after taking a liner off his pitching elbow.
Jonathan Lucroy homered for the Brewers, who finished 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position while dropping their second straight game.
Gorzelanny retired the Nats in order in the first before Jayson Werth led off the second with a line drive back up the middle that struck Gorzelanny flush on his left elbow.
After meeting with the training staff, the veteran southpaw fired a warm-up pitch that he was unable to get anything on before walking toward the Milwaukee dugout.
"It got me pretty square on the elbow," Gorzelanny said of Werth's liner. "It was extremely painful right after."
Figaro took over on the mound and retired nine of the next 10 hitters in order before Ian Desmond led off the fifth with a double to center.
Desmond then swiped third before racing home when Lucroy's throw to third from behind the plate sailed into left to make it 1-0.
Harper led off the sixth with his 16th homer of the season before the Nats added a run in the seventh when Anthony Rendon stroked a two-out single to left with runners on first and second to push the lead to 3-0.
Milwaukee finally cracked the scoreboard in the eighth when Lucroy launched a one-out blast into straightaway center field off Tyler Clippard.
Washington got the run right back in the ninth, as Span smacked a leadoff double and Ramos followed with a single. After Scott Hairston fanned, Harper ripped a grounder toward second that slipped under the glove of Rickie Weeks, allowing Span to cross home for a 4-1 lead.
Soriano flied off Jeff Bianchi to start the ninth before fanning pinch-hitter Khris Davis and Weeks to end the contest.
Zimmermann has won all four of his career starts against Milwaukee ... Gorzelanny played for the Nationals in 2011 and 2012 ... Clippard had pitched 15 1/3 consecutive scoreless frames before giving up Lucroy's blast in the eighth ... Milwaukee center fielder Carlos Gomez stole two bases to give him 29 stolen bags on the season.