MILWAUKEE - In all three games of the Nationals' series against the Brewers, they've given up two runs in the first inning. Today, they did it without allowing a home run.
Jason Marquis allowed two hits and a walk, with Prince Fielder driving in a pair of runs with a two-run double to center. The Brewers took a 2-0 lead in the first, and they added another run on Fielder's sac fly, which brought in Rickie Weeks in the third inning.
Marquis had a 6.26 ERA this month in four starts before today, and would seem to be regressing toward his usual numbers (a season ERA around 4.50). He's not keeping his fastball down in the zone as well as he was earlier this year, and he's thrown 56 pitches in three innings today.
But the Nationals pulled even with the Brewers the same way they've gotten most of their offense this week - off the bat of Michael Morse. He hit his third homer in as many days, blasting a three-run shot off Zack Greinke to score Jayson Werth and Laynce Nix and tie the game at three. Morse is a streaky hitter, and he's been locked in for the better part of a week. It could be that he's less worried about defense playing first base, or it could be that he's so good at Miller Park (he was 5-for-9 here last year, too, with a two-homer game last July).
He's got the Nationals tied with the Brewers, though, despite the fact they've struck out seven times in four innings. The score is at three apiece headed into the bottom of the fourth.