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WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals were expected to be in the midst of a pennant race as August wound down. Instead it is the Milwaukee Brewers who are in the running for a playoff spot.More Brewers coverageBrewers Final Pitch: Chacin dominates mound in Game 3 of NLCSChacin Frank White Jersey , Brewers blank Dodgers to take 2-1 lead in NLCSDespite struggles, No. 23 Badgers still have hope in Big TenStrong winds could be factor for Brewers, Dodgers in NLCS Game 3Photos of the Week: 10/7/18 – 10/13/18Milwaukee comes to Washington for three games beginning Friday after beating the Cincinnati Reds for the second straight day on Thursday.The Brewers (75-60) got a Lorenzo Cain homer in the 11th inning for a 2-1 win that left them a half-game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the top wild-card spot in the National League. Milwaukee is five games behind first-place Chicago in the National League Central.Thursday’s win followed Milwaukee’s 13-12 victory in a 10-inning slugfest on Wednesday night.“I think the offense looked tired,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell told mlb.com after Thursday’s win, “but you grind through it and you play good defense. We made pitches and Lo Cain got the big hit.”Washington (67-67) begins a 10-game homestand against NL Central entries Milwaukee, St. Louis and Chicago while trying to remain in the playoff hunt coming off a 3-3 road trip. The Nationals are 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves in the NL East and nearly as far back in the wild-card race with four teams ahead of them for the No. 2 spot.Brewers right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (13-5, 3.61 ERA) opposes right-hander Tanner Roark (8-13, 3.95) in Friday’s opener.Roark has been a different pitcher since the All-Star break, stepping up when the Nationals needed someone to back up ace Max Scherzer. Roark is 5-1 with a 1.61 ERA in his last seven starts. During that stretch http://www.royalsfanproshop.com/authentic-joakim-soria-jersey , he has struck out 37 batters and walked five.“You really just feel unhittable,” a grinning Roark recently told the Washington Post. “You feel like each pitch that you’re about to throw is untouchable, and that’s what you want as a pitcher.”He started that streak in Milwaukee when he blanked the Brewers for eight innings in a July 25 win. Roark struck out 11 and walked only one.Last time out he was an unlucky loser against the Mets, allowing one run and four hits in six innings of a 3-0 Mets win.Roark entered the All-Star break 3-12 — winless since June 6 — with a 4.87 ERA.“It’s been awesome,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez told the Post regarding Roark’s sharp turnaround. “Every time he goes out there we have a chance to win ballgames.”Roark is 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA in seven appearances (six starts) in his career versus the Brewers.Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich is 9-for-36 (.250) against Roark. Jonathan Schoop is 2-for-4 and both hits are homers.Chacin has also enjoyed a strong August. After allowing eight earned runs to the Dodgers on Aug. 2, he has surrendered just six earned runs while going 3-1 over his last four starts.“We talked in spring training that once Yelich and Cain came aboard, we kind of forgot about Chac铆n, and how important he can be,” Counsell told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He’s ended up being really important.”The Brewers are 19-9 in games Chacin has started. He’s coming off a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he gave up three earned runs in six innings.Chacin beat the Nationals on July 23. He pitched 5 2/3 innings Kelvin Herrera Jersey , allowing a run and two hits while striking out nine without a walk. In his career, he’s 4-2 with a 3.06 ERA in nine starts against Washington.Anthony Rendon is 4-for-14 (.286) versus Chacin, and Adam Eaton is 3-or-11 (.273) and Bryce Harper 0-for-6. SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Atlanta Braves are threatening to turn a tight NL East race into a runaway finish.Sean Newcomb pitched six strong innings, Ozzie Albies sparked the offense with two extra-base hits and Atlanta Braves beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1 on Monday night.The Braves moved five games ahead of Philadelphia atop the NL East and reduced their magic number to 15 with their fourth win in five games.The Giants lost their ninth straight, matching their worst skid since 2006.Albies was 2 for 4 with a double, a triple, an RBI and two runs. Kurt Suzuki was 3 for 3, including a double leading off a two-run ninth inning.Albies scored the go-ahead run in the seventh. He led off with a double against starter Dereck Rodriguez (6-3) and was awarded third when center fielder Gorkys Hernandez’s throw trying to catch Albies after a wide turn at first was off the mark. Hernandez was charged with an error.“Always aggressive,” Albies said. “He throws behind me http://www.royalsfanproshop.com/authentic-alcides-escobar-jersey , I’m going.”Albies scored on Dansby Swanson’s sacrifice fly that made it 2-1.Albies had an RBI triple and scored a run in the ninth.“He’s an aggressive kid,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s always looking to advance to the next base, that’s for sure.”Newcomb (12-8) allowed a run on three hits. He struck out eight and walked none.“I was just attacking the hitters the whole time, trying to make them uncomfortable,” Newcomb said.Braves closer A.J. Minter pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save.Rodriguez gave up two runs, one earned, on five hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings.“I asked him to go back out for the seventh. I felt good regardless of pitches,” Rodriguez said. “I thought I could pitch a pretty good inning. I feel strong. I want to keep going out there.“I like playing with old school managers. It’s the game I learned, bunting guys over to second Jason Hammel Jersey , and grew up watching. Having Bochy as a manger and him having confidence in me is awesome.”The 26-year-old rookie joined some elite company.Rodriguez became one of just two pitchers to allow two or fewer runs over six-plus innings 13 times in their first 16 career starts. The other is former Montreal Expos pitcher Steve Rogers, per to Stats, LLC.The only other Giant to allow two or fewer runs in 13 of their first 16 starts in a season is Juan Marichal (1965).NOTABLEBraves OF Ronald Acuna Jr. was among the first eight players named to represent Major League Baseball in the 2018 All-Star Tour with Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, which opens Nov. 7 at the Tokyo Dome. … Acuna’s 25th home run on Sunday moved him into a three-way tie fifth place on the career list for players under 21 with Hall of Famers Eddie Matthews (1952) and Orlando Cepeda (1958).TRAINER’S ROOMBraves: RHP Arodys Vizcaino (right shoulder inflammation) will throw a bullpen session Tuesday for the first time in five days. He’s expected to be activated by Friday, manager Brian Snitker said. … RHP Brandon McCarthy (right knee tendinitis) threw a simulated game over the weekend but is not expected to pitch again this season. … RHP Jose Ramirez (right shoulder inflammation) has been shut down for the rest of the season. … IF Rio Ruiz was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett.Giants: INF Ryder Jones (dislocated patella on left knee) will have surgery later this week. The 25-year-old was injured taking a swing during Sunday’s game in Milwaukee.UP NEXTBraves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (10-9, 2.75 ERA) is 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA in six career starts against the Giants.Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (6-10, 4.33) is tied for 11th in franchise history for a rookie with 118 strikeouts. He ranks seventh in that category in the San Francisco era.