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Edmonds’ homer caps Crew comeback

July 23, 2010

MILWAUKEE — Jim Edmonds had quite the night off for the Brewers on Friday.

Edmonds, who has been slowed by an injured right Achilles tendon, was not in the starting lineup against Nationals right-hander Craig Stammen. But when All-Star right fielder Corey Hart went down with a right wrist injury in the third, Edmonds’ number was called.

With the Brewers not taking batting practice before Friday’s game due to their late travels home from Pittsburgh, Edmonds had not even thrown a ball or swung a bat prior to Hart’s injury.

Three at-bats later, Edmonds delivered a two-run, game-winning homer off Nationals lefty Sean Burnett, giving Milwaukee a 7-5 victory over Washington in the series opener.

“Considering I was sleeping on the couch about 20 minute … no, just kidding,” Edmonds joked of how great the night turned out for him. “But that’s kind of how this game is. It’s kind of wild.”

Edmonds’ home run capped a six-run rally over three innings by the Brewers that allowed the Crew to overcome a 5-1 deficit going into the bottom of the fifth inning.

Rookie shortstop Alcides Escobar got things started in the fifth with a single. Lefty starter Chris Narveson followed with one of his own — of the broken-bat variety — which scored Escobar from second after the shortstop advanced on defensive indifference.

After a Rickie Weeks walk advanced Narveson to second, a bloop single to left by Edmonds scored the Brewers’ starter, cutting the lead to 5-3.

An inning later, it was Escobar again, this time with a little help from speedy center fielder Carlos Gomez.

With two out and a runner on first, Gomez ripped a cutter into the gap in left-center field and raced around the bases to third for a triple.

“Every time I hit the ball to the gap, I’m not thinking it’s a double, I always think triple,” Gomez said. “I never look at anybody, I go straight to third, no matter what. They have to throw me out at third.”

Escobar followed the triple with a double to left, scoring Gomez and tying the game at 5. With the double, Escobar finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

“I feel pretty good about the way Escobar’s swung the bat over the course of the year,” manager Ken Macha said. “Three hits tonight, all line drives and he didn’t overswing at all.”

With the offensive performances of Gomez, Escobar and Narveson, it was a pretty good night for the bottom of the Brewers’ batting order.

Batting seventh, eighth and ninth for, Gomez, Escobar and Narveson combined to go 5-for-10 with three runs scored, two RBIs, a double and a triple.

Conversely, the Brewers’ Nos. 3, 4 an 5 hitters — Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee — went 1-for-10 with an RBI and a run scored. More importantly, though, the bottom of the order delivered when Milwaukee trailed midway through the game.

For the Nationals, it was a tough loss to swallow after shutting down the Brewers’ sluggers.

“They really played. Milwaukee was down. The bottom of the order did a lot of damage,” said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. “Our guys played hard, we played clean. We just weren’t able to add on. Mike Morse had a great game for us.”

Morse, the Nationals’ right fielder, went 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs, two runs scored and a career-high four RBIs.

The multi-homer effort was a career first for Morse, on whom the Brewers did not have much of a scouting report.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t have much on him,” Narveson said of Morse. “I knew he was aggressive, but with guys on first and second [in the second inning], it’s a bad time to sit there and find that out after the first pitch.

“He’s a good hitter, he did what he was supposed to do.”

After struggling through the second, Narveson gave up runs in each of the third and fourth innings before retiring the final nine batters he faced in the fourth, fifth and sixth.

His ability to get to the sixth was crucial for the Brewers, whose bullpen has been overworked and is short with lefty Zach Braddock being unavailable over the weekend.

It also allowed Kameron Loe (1-1) to come in and pitch an impressive two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out a pair. Behind him was closer John Axford, who retired the Nationals in order to pick up his 14th save of the season.

Narveson’s rough second inning put the spotlight on the Brewers pitching staff once again Friday night.

When asked about it afterward, Macha did not express much concern about his staff.

“Talking to [GM Doug Melvin] today, we’ve won eight out of the last 12. So let’s not get so down on the pitching staff,” Macha said. “Chris is in his first full year in the big leagues and we’ve got a catcher [Jonathan Lucroy] that’s fresh out of Double-A. So there’s a lot of work to do to get that consistency.

“All things considered, it’s gone pretty well.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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