MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Dave Bush rewarded his manager for keeping him in the regular rotation.
Bush pitched a five-hitter over 6 1/3 innings for his second consecutive win and Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart each hit home runs to help the Brewers sweep the four-game series against the Washington Nationals with a 7-1 victory Monday.
• In his last six starts, including Monday, Brewers starter Dave Bush has 41 strikeouts and five walks in 41 2/3 innings pitched.
• The Nationals suffered their fourth straight loss. However, they have six wins already in August after winning only five games in the entire month of July.
• Making his third career start, Nationals starter Garrett Mock fell to 0-3 after allowing four earned runs and five hits, including two homers, in 4 2/3 innings. He fanned nine and walked three.
-- ESPN Research
The Brewers' sixth straight victory moved them 3½ games ahead of St. Louis for the NL wild card despite the absence of Ryan Braun for the second straight game. Braun, out with a lower-back injury, is listed as day to day.In July, Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost decided to use Bush and Seth McClung in a home-and-road platoon. Bush, who pitched better at home, would start only at Miller Park while McClung, who did better away, would pitch on the road. It didn't last long.Bush couldn't be happier about starting every five days."Just being able to stick with the routine between starts," he said. "Being able to run and lift and throw on the side. The same things that I would typically do."Bush won on the road August 5 at Cincinnati in his previous start, holding the Reds to a run and three hits in seven innings.Yost snapped at a reporter who asked if leaving Bush in the rotation was working."Have we won both games?" he asked. Then he added, "It's a positive effect for anybody that wants to stay in the rotation."Nationals manager Manny Acta had seen enough of the Brewers, who have won 10 of the past 15 matchups with Washington."We just got swept by a better team," he said. "They flat-out outplayed us."Weeks led off the first with a homer and Hart added a two-run homer in the fourth. Craig Counsell's two-run double and a bases-loaded walk off reliever Charlie Manning in the seventh helped the Brewers swept the Nationals at Miller Park for the second consecutive season.Bush (7-9) won his third straight start against Washington. He walked two and struck out six. He left with a 4-1 lead.After pinch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio reached on first baseman Prince Fielder's fielding error, Brian Shouse relieved Bush. A fielding error by shortstop J.J. Hardy kept the Nationals rally alive, but Shouse got pinch-hitter Cristian Guzman to hit into a double play to end the inning.The Nationals had their best chance to help rookie Garrett Mock (0-3) in the fifth but failed to score with the bases loaded and no outs.Bush put two on with a walk and single and then hit Mock in the left thigh. Bush escaped when Willie Harris hit into a fielder's choice, Pete Orr struck out and Ryan Zimmerman ground out."We were swinging at David's pitches instead of having a better plan," Acta said. "We dug ourselves a big hole."The Brewers scored a run when Mock worked himself into a jam and then out of the game in the fifth.With two outs, Gabe Kapler walked, advanced on Mock's wild pickoff and took third on a wild pitch. Fielder drove in Kapler and after Hart beat Mock to the bag on a slow roller to first. Reliever Steven Shell struck out Counsell to end the threat.Mock, called up from Triple-A Columbus last Thursday, allowed four runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked three but struck out a career-high nine in his first start since June 21.Acta liked what Mock did against the Brewers."I thought he threw the ball a lot better than what the numbers show," he said. "He showed flashes of a guy that can pitch over here."Last Wednesday's rainout at Colorado forced both Odalis Perez and Jason Bergmann to pitch in the next day's doubleheader sweep of the Rockies. Perez would have been pitching on short rest in the final game against the Brewers.Zimmerman's RBI single in the first gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead that lasted until the bottom of the inning when Weeks led off with his 10th home run but first at Miller Park this season.
In the first, Weeks hit his third leadoff homer this season and ninth of his career. ... Mock's third MLB start marks the 35th time in 119 games this season that a rookie has started a game for the Nationals. ... Milledge's single in the sixth extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games. ... Brewers batters struck out a season-worst 14 times.