MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Nelson scattered three singles and struck out 11 over seven innings and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Washington Nationals 1-0 on Friday night.
Neil Walker, obtained from the New York Mets on Aug. 12, homered in the first inning off Tanner Roark (11-9).
Nelson (11-6) tied his career high in strikeouts while pitching out of trouble in the first three innings before settling down. The right-hander walked three and hit one batter, retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced.
Rookie Josh Hader struck out the side in the eighth inning and Corey Knebel struck out the side in the ninth for his 32nd save in 37 chances. Knebel has not allowed a run in his last 19 outings.
Washington went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position in the first three innings before the Nationals' bats went quiet.
Ryan Zimmerman singled in the sixth, but was erased on a double play, and was the Nationals' only baserunner in the final six innings until Jayson Werth walked with two outs in the ninth.
Milwaukee remained 3 1/2 games behind Chicago in the NL Central after the Cubs beat Atlanta 2-0 on Friday.
Walker hit a 2-1 pitch into the right field stands with one out in the first inning, his 12th of the year. In 16 games since joining the team, he is batting .306 with two home runs and seven RBIs.
Roark allowed one run, five hits and one intentional walk while striking out 10 in seven innings.
The Nationals loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter with one out in the third. Nelson then struck out Howie Kendrick and Werth to end the inning.
Milwaukee loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth but failed to score. Orlando Arcia hit a bouncer just in front of the plate, and catcher Jose Lobaton stepped on the plate and threw to first for the double play. Nelson struck out to end the inning.
Washington struck out 17 times and Milwaukee 11.
Ryan Braun was ejected in the fourth inning for arguing a called strike. He took a pitch that home plate umpire Mark Ripperger called a strike (for strike two). When he struck out swinging to end the at-bat he turned to Ripperger and complained, earning a quick ejection. Braun is hitting .136 (6 for 44) in his last 13 games.
Minor leaguer Julio Mendez is in critical but stable condition after being hit in the chest by a pitch last weekend. Milwaukee general manager David Stearns provided the update Friday. The 20-year-old Mendez suffered a cardiac event after being hit by the pitch on Aug. 26. The infielder was playing for a rookie-level affiliate in Arizona. He is being treated at a hospital in the Phoenix area.
Nationals: RHP Ryan Madson (finger sprain) and LHP Enny Romero (forearm strain) were reinstated from the 10-day DL. Manager Dusty Baker said he was unsure when Madson would be available to pitch.
Brewers: C Andrew Susac (right trapezius strain) and LHP Brent Suter (rotator cuff strain) were reinstated from the 10-day DL.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (13-5) has a 1.93 ERA in his last five starts, and will be on the mound for Washington Saturday in Game 3 of the four-game series.
Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (1-1), recalled from the minors on Friday, will make his first major-league start since Aug. 19.