WASHINGTON (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers have little margin for error with a week and a half left in the regular season. On Sunday, a lot of hits kept them close in the playoff scramble.
Jonathan Lucroy had a pair of RBI singles and Milwaukee collected 15 hits to beat the Washington Nationals 6-2.
Rickie Weeks had three hits while Aramis Ramirez had two doubles for Milwaukee, which twice benefited from outfielders losing fly balls in the sun. The Brewers (79-73) remained 2½ games behind St. Louis for the final NL wild-card berth.
"They're all crucial," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "We know that, but you've just got to go out and play. I thought that we played a good game today."
Milwaukee have won 25 of its last 32 games.
Washington leads the NL East by 4½ games over Atlanta. The Nationals' magic number to clinch the division remains at six.
Reliever Brandon Kintzler (3-0) pitched a scoreless sixth inning, striking out Kurt Suzuki with the bases loaded. John Axford recorded the final out with two runners on for his 33rd save.
"It's fun. All these games are fun to watch from back there," Kintzler said of the bullpen. "Then suddenly you're in the ballgame. It's intense. It's something I've been thinking about the whole year, hoping I'd be a part of."
Ryan Mattheus (5-3) allowed three earned runs on four hits.
"I don't think we're fun to face right now, as exciting as we've been," said Corey Hart, who scored twice.
Milwaukee broke a 2-all tie in the seventh. Weeks singled and Ryan Braun grounded into a forceout. Ramirez doubled to right, putting runners on second and third.
After Hart was walked intentionally, Lucroy hit a grounder up the middle. Shortstop Ian Desmond made a diving stop, but couldn't make the play at second and the Brewers led 3-2 with the bases still loaded.
The next batter, Carlos Gomez, hit a fly ball to right that was playable, but Jayson Werth lost it in the sun. Gomez wound with an RBI single and another run scored on Jean Segura's groundout.
"It's a tough sun. There's no doubt about it," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.
The Brewers added a run in the eighth on Braun's sacrifice fly.