for this game

Kapler's hit lifts Brewers past Nationals

May 26, 2008 - 11:04 PM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) - Pinch-hitter Gabe Kapler's RBI single to center scored Prince Fielder in the 11th inning to lift the Milwaukee Brewers to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Monday afternoon.

Fielder doubled to left-center off Nationals reliever Saul Rivera (3-2) to start the inning and advanced to third on Corey Hart's sacrifice.

After Russell Branyan struck out, Kapler, who spent last season managing the Red Sox's Class A affiliate in Greenville, delivered the winning hit on the first pitch he saw.

"Every guy has a different philosophy in regard to pinch-hitting, but mine is just to try to get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it - whether it be early in the count or late in the count," Kapler said.

"The decision (to return from retirement) was based on a number of things but it boils down to my wanting to get back in the batter's box and have spikes on and be a part of all this. It was an emotional decision to go manage and it was an emotional decision for me to come back."

Righthander Carlos Villanueva (3-5) pitched two perfect innings with five strikeouts to earn the win and Salomon Torres pitched a perfect 11th for his third save.

Dmitri Young tied the game in the eighth when he hit a shot off the back ledge of the green padded wall in left-center field that originally was ruled a triple.

The ball bounced off a second wall in left-center that separates the seats from a gap behind the outfield wall. After further review, the umpiring crew awarded Young a home run that tied the score at 3-3.

"I was just doing my job and trying to play it as it was," Brewers center fielder Mike Cameron said. "They got (the ruling) right. ... They've got to change it or do something to fix that, you know?"

Cameron suggested the back wall be painted a different color to avoid confusion.

Brewers manager Ned Yost wasn't sure what to think of the play, much less the confusing ground rules at Nationals Park.

"The ground rules are so screwy and I don't even know what's right with the ground rule," Yost said. "They said on right field if it hits the silver, it's in play. If it hits in left field in the silver, it's a home run. That's a screwy ground rule to me, but I thought it hit the silver and bounced back. ... I don't know. They need a line or something there."

Either way, Young's shot provided two innings of free Memorial Day baseball in the nation's capital.

The Nationals took an early lead when Cristian Guzman hit a solo shot to left off Brewers righthander Ben Sheets for his fifth homer of the season.

Elijah Dukes doubled to the gap in left-center and scored on Jesus Flores' RBI double to left to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead in the second.

Sheets allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked none.

"The gratification for today's win comes in watching Ben Sheets perform and deserve to win that game and then also Villanueva to pitch the way he did," Kapler said. "It was nice to be on the winning end of this one going home after a long road trip."

Nationals righthander Jason Bergmann extended his scoreless streak to 19 2/3 consecutive innings over three games by allowing no runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"I tried my best for as long as I could," Bergmann said. "Hopefully, next time we'll get the 'W'. I'm not going to be unhittable. They hit some good shots today. I'm glad I could scatter them a little bit more."

Bergmann struck out eight and walked one.

"He did a tremendous job for us and I couldn't ask any more out of him," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "He did the same thing he's done in the other outings. He gave us a very good chance to win the ballgame today."

But Bergmann would not factor in the decision after the Brewers manufactured two runs in the seventh off two Nationals relievers.

Hart started with a leadoff single to left against lefthander Charlie Manning, advanced to second on a wild pitch and stole third.

After J.J. Hardy drew a walk from righthander Brian Sanches, Jason Kendall delivered an RBI single to right. Pinch-hitter Joe Dillon then reached on a fielding error by Nationals first baseman Young that allowed Hardy to scoot home for a 2-2 tie.

Milwaukee took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth on Fielder's sacrifice fly to center, scoring Cameron.

Fielder finished the game going 2-for-4 with three deep fly balls.

"Prince just missed four homers," Yost said. "He almost had a four-homer day. We're swinging the bats fine, but for some reason, on the road we can just not catch a break."

On this day, the Brewers managed to win despite a break that went the Nationals' way.

"It was good to battle back and win this game," Kapler said.