MILWAUKEE — Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker’s premonition about Zach Davies came true.
Davies won his 16th game to tie Arizona’s Zack Greinke for the most victories in the majors, Jonathan Villar homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Nationals 6-3 on Thursday night.
“I don’t know who he’s been watching or who he’s learned from, but he’s learned his craft pretty good,” Baker said before the game. “He knows how to pitch at a very young age.”
Davies (16-7) spotted the Nationals two runs in the third, but then nothing more.
The 24-year-old right-hander scattered six hits, walked two, struck out four and lowered his ERA to 1.77 over the last nine starts, five of them victories for himself and the team.
“Zach’s putting together a run where he’s just in control of every game that he’s been out there,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Greinke (16-6) beat the Dodgers 8-1 on Thursday afternoon. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) and Chris Sale (Red Sox) are one game behind Davies and Greinke.
Villar hit a two-run homer off Gio Gonzalez (13-6) in the fifth. It was his 11th of the season, second two-run shot in as many days and it came after Davies walked.
Trea Turner greeted Anthony Swarzak with a triple to start the eighth and scored on Jayson Werth’s groundout.
Corey Knebel pitched the ninth for his 31st save.
The Brewers snapped Gonzalez’s five-game winning streak with their 11th victory in the last 16 games. Gonzalez allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings with three walks and seven strikeouts.
“To beat a guy like this and put five runs on the board against him, we did a nice job tonight, for sure,” Counsell said.
Stephen Vogt went 3 for 4 and drove in a run in the eighth with his third single of the game.
Juan Aguilar drove in two in the third with a two-out, bases-loaded single to left. Domingo Santana was caught off second on the relay throw from the outfield. The Brewers challenged, but a 3:01 review confirmed the call and ended the threat.
The Nationals went ahead 2-1 in the third. Michael Taylor singled, advanced on a sacrifice by Gonzalez and scored on Turner’s double. After stealing third, Turner came home on Werth’s groundout.
Hernan Perez doubled, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Braun in the first.
Turner went 3 for 4 with a double, single and triple and two runs scored.
Nationals: OF Brian Goodwin (left groin strain) has made progress, but the team is not rushing his return. It’s his first time with that injury. … RHP Ryan Madson (right finger sprain) and LHP Enny Romero (left forearm strain) could rejoin the team Friday. Madson has missed 16 games and Romero 26.
Brewers: C Manny Pina missed his second consecutive game with a right hip injury suffered during Tuesday’s game. … 3B Travis Shaw got a scheduled game off.
Matt Garza (6-8, 4.77 ERA) won’t make his scheduled start in Sunday’s finale with the Nationals. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 7.82 ERA in his last three starts totaling 12 2/3 innings. Milwaukee lost four of his last five starts.
The demotion may be temporary. “Matt is going to figure into the rotation going forward, but he is not going to start Sunday,” Counsell said.
Home plate umpire Tom Hallion took a foul tip off the mask in the seventh. Brewers assistant trainer Dave Yeager attended to Hallion who was nodding and smiling.
Nationals catcher Matt Wieters took a foul tip off the top of his right knee in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Neil Walker stepped out of the box as Wieters regrouped.
GIO GOOD TO GO
Gonzalez grimaced after Aguilar took a called third strike in the sixth. After a brief delay, Gonzalez finished the inning.
“It was just a breaking ball that I landed on wrong on my right side,” he said. “It was just a little tweak. I feel fine. Nothing to worry about for the next start.”
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (11-8, 4.63 ERA) looks for his third straight win as he faces the Brewers for the first time this season. He has a 2.16 ERA since the All-Star break.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (10-6, 3.75 ERA) makes his 28th start of the season and second against the Nationals. He is 1-1 with a 4.43 ERA in his previous four career starts against them.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball