Chicago Cubs hammer Kyle Lohse in Brewers loss
CHICAGO—While his 9-9 record doesn’t reflect it, Kyle Lohse has been the Milwaukee Brewers’ most consistent starter this season.
But the veteran right-hander also hasn’t been immune to occasional struggles, and he finds himself in the midst of a tough stretch right now.
For the second time in three starts, Lohse was pounded—although this time by a Chicago Cubs team that was batting Nate Schierholtz cleanup and Brewers spring-training castoff Donnie Murphy sixth.
He gave up five runs in the first inning and a season-high seven overall in an uncharacteristically short five-inning stint as the Brewers played from behind all day and eventually lost, 8-5, at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon.
Two starts earlier on Aug. 27 at Pittsburgh, Lohse was rocked for a career-high 13 hits and five earned runs in a game the Brewers eventually pulled out.
“You’re going to have your starts like that,” said Lohse, who sandwiched his team-leading 18th quality start in between on Sunday. “You have your Adam Wainwrights…guys are going to have those starts. It is frustrating, two out of three, but I look at the season as a whole.
“That Pittsburgh game, there were some other circumstances. Things happen. This game, you’re always one pitch away, good or bad. I hung two sliders—one for a three-run homer to (Neil Walker) and one for a grand slam today.
“That’s two pitches that are big. That’s one of my best pitches. You miss location and spin it, and it’s a pretty easy pitch to hit.”
As Lohse noted, it was one hung slider to Chicago’s No. 7 hitter, Junior Lake, that made the difference in this one.
After allowing three consecutive singles in falling behind, 1-0, Lohse walked Ryan Sweeney to load the bases. He got Murphy to pop out for the second out, but Lake jumped all over Lohse’s second offering and hammered it into the seats in left-center to give the Cubs a 5-0 lead.
“The frustrating thing was I felt I was one pitch away,” Lohse said. “I just didn’t make the pitch. It’s frustrating. It happens. Unfortunately, it cost us the game early.”
The Brewers pulled to within, 5-2, against Cubs starter Chris Rusin by the third inning on a Norichika Aoki sacrifice fly and an Aramis Ramirez home run, but the Cubs got those two runs back in the bottom of the frame with four more singles.
The fourth, which drove in two, came courtesy of Rusin and represented his first career RBI.
Lohse settled down in the fourth and fifth, but manager Ron Roenicke pulled him after 71 pitches and 11 hits.
“Sometimes you get out of whack just like a hitter does,” Roenicke said. “Whether it’s mentally thinking about mechanics or physically some days you just don’t feel that good. We’ll see what we can do to get him back going again.”
The game remained interesting from the Brewers’ point of view for a couple of reasons.
The first was the major-league debut of right-hander Jimmy Nelson, who pitched two perfect innings in relief of Lohse. He didn’t record a strikeout, but he touched as high as 95 mph on the radar gun several times.
“First inning I really liked,” Roenicke said. “Velocity was good, location was really good, down in the zone. Next inning he was up in the zone, and we were fortunate they hit some balls hard at us.”
Scooter Gennett also continued to impress, hitting a three-run, pinch-hit homer in the eighth to draw Milwaukee to within, 7-5, before Chicago added another run in the bottom of the inning to cap it.
“He’s doing a great job,” Roenicke said.