With grieving shortstop Jean Segura back, the sluggish Brewers try to come out strong Friday night in the first of three in Washington.Sitting atop the NL Central, Milwaukee (53-43) has controlled one of baseball's best divisions for nearly the entire season. However, the Brewers have seen what was a 6 1/2-game lead late last month cut to one after dropping 11 of 13."You don't play good for 80 games and then because of a week or week and a half where you're not playing the way you should, you're not a good team anymore," All-Star third baseman Aramis Ramirez told MLB's official website. "That's not a fluke. We played well for three months. We have a good team."Milwaukee had been outscored 46-21 during a season-worst seven-game losing streak before beating St. Louis 11-2 on Sunday. Carlos Gomez, Scooter Gennett, Ryan Braun and Khris Davis each had two RBIs as the Brewers stayed ahead of the second-place Cardinals."We played pretty brutal those two weeks," fellow All-Star Jonathan Lucroy said. "If we can get back to that high level like the last game we played on Sunday, playing at a high level and having good at-bats, our starters going out there and doing what they do, we'll be OK."It remains to be seen if Friday's lineup will include Segura, who has rejoined the team a week after his nine-month-old son suddenly passed away in the Dominican Republic. Segura's average has dropped to .232 after going 5 for his last 41.Washington (51-42) has climbed percentage points ahead of Atlanta in the East after winning 10 of 14. Jayson Werth went 2 for 3 with a homer and four RBIs as the Nationals closed the first half with Sunday's 10-3 win at Philadelphia."The second half is the best time to play. I look forward to that," said Werth, batting .375 with six homers and a major league-best 19 RBIs in 11 games this month. "You set yourself up in the first half, and you give yourself a chance in the second. We'll see what we have coming down the stretch, and we'll see the type of team we are made of."Washington now turns to Stephen Strasburg (7-6, 3.46 ERA), who leads the NL with 10.73 strikeouts per nine innings. He has gone 1-0 with a 2.21 ERA during a three-start stretch since yielding a career high-tying seven runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 9-2 loss at Milwaukee on June 25. Gennett and Davis each homered off the right-hander.Strasburg allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 home defeat to the Brewers on July 2, 2013, his only other appearance in the series. He is 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his last 10 outings at Nationals Park, with 87 strikeouts and nine walks over 67 2/3 innings.Milwaukee's Kyle Lohse (9-4, 3.26) is looking to regroup after losing back-to-back starts for the first time. He yielded four runs and seven hits over eight innings last Wednesday in a 4-1 loss to the Phillies.While Lohse owns a 2.43 ERA at home, he's 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA in his last five road outings. The right-hander, who is making his first appearance in the season series, was 5-1 with a 3.73 ERA in 10 starts against the Nationals from 2008-13.Werth is 9 for 27 with three homers and three doubles against Lohse.