Lohse hurt; Brewers lose
The Milwaukee Brewers' starting rotation took another hit Wednesday night that it couldn't afford to take.
Kyle Lohse injured his right ankle during an at-bat in the third inning, and he left the game after pitching the bottom of the frame.
Lohse surrendered home runs to Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo on consecutive pitches in that third, staking the Cubs to an early lead they wouldn't relinquish in beating the Brewers, 4-2, at Wrigley Field.
For the second consecutive game, an anonymous Cubs hurler stymied the Brewers' offense.
On Tuesday, it was 24-year old Kyle Hendricks, who allowed six hits over 71/3 shutout innings. In this one, it was 33-year-old left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who held Milwaukee off the scoreboard until Rickie Weeks and Martin Maldonado hit back-to-back solo homers off him in the seventh.
All told, Wada, allowed five hits, two runs (earned) and a walk to go along with five strikeouts in his sixth major-league start.
The loss was bad enough. But with Matt Garza already on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique, the Brewers might now find themselves in scramble mode to fill another spot in the rotation if Lohse is unable to make his next start.
Mike Fiers starts Thursday afternoon in the series finale in place of Garza. Lohse isn't scheduled to pitch again until Aug. 19 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Miller Park.
The Brewers, who maintained their 11/2-game lead in the NL Central Division with the Pittsburgh Pirates also losing, have an off day on the 18th following their series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Lohse came in having not won a game since July 23, and things didn't look good for him early as the Cubs jumped on him for a pair of first-inning runs.
Chris Coghlan led off with a double off the wall in center, then Baez singled to right and went to second when Jonathan Lucroy—playing first base—cut the throw off from Ryan Braun but bounced his throw to the base.
Rizzo followed with a fly ball to left that Coghlan tagged and scored on, and Starlin Castro singled to center to drive in Baez and put Chicago up, 2-0.
Aramis Ramirez collected the Brewers' first hit against Wada with a leadoff single in the second, and Milwaukee got a runner into scoring position in the third when Martin Maldonado doubled and went to third on a fly to right by Jean Segura.
Carlos Gomez grounded out to third for the third out, however.
Things went from bad to worse in the bottom of the third for Lohse when, three pitches in, Baez crushed a homer over the bleachers in left and onto Waveland Ave., and then one pitch later Anthony Rizzo golfed a homer just over the wall in right to double the Cubs' lead to 4-0.
Then, with Arismendy Alcantara up, Lohse was visited on the mound by manager Ron Roenicke and trainer Dan Wright for a brief time. Lohse stayed in the game and wound up retiring the Cubs on three strikeouts, but he was lifted in favor of Marco Estrada heading into the fourth.
In three innings (55 pitches), Lohse allowed seven hits, four runs (earned) and a walk to go along with three strikeouts.
Estrada kept the Cubs in check for the four innings he pitched, departing after the seventh having allowed just two hits while striking out two.
The Brewers finally got to Wada in the seventh, when Weeks and Maldonado homered to almost the same spot in left-center to make it 4-2. Wada's night ended at that point after a total of 97 pitches.
Justin Grimm finished off that inning for the Cubs.
Milwaukee had one last gasp in the eighth inning against Neil Ramirez when Lucroy tripled into the corner in right with two outs, but Braun popped out to Baez at second to end the threat.