Lohse, Brewers roll on
The Milwaukee Brewers, who have had trouble scoring runs at home thus far, didn't need a major outburst Wednesday night.
Not the way Kyle Lohse was pitching. And not with this bullpen backing him up.
Lohse held the San Diego Padres at bay for seven innings, and the Brewers used home runs by Jean Segura and Khris Davis to take a 5-2 victory at Miller Park.
The Brewers won the series, two games to one, and boosted their record to 16-6, best in the majors.
“It's early in the season,” said Loshe, who boosted his record to 4-1 with a 2.38 earned run average. “We've just got to keep piling the wins up and see where we're at come September. That's the attitude in here and hopefully everyone's on the same page.”
If the Brewers keep pitching like this—both in the rotation and out of the bullpen—September could prove to be a lively time. Granted, the Padres are the worst scoring team in the National League, but the Brewers have been shutting down offenses from Day 1.
The Padres struck for a quick run off Lohse in the first inning after Everth Cabrera led off with a booming double to center, but he proceeded to retire 17 of the next 18 hitters. When all was said and done, Lohse allowed only five hits and one earned run over seven innings with no walks and five strikeouts.
“I liked the way he threw the ball,” said manager Ron Roenicke, whose team matched its season high in runs scored at home after averaging only 2.36 runs through the first 11 games at Miller Park. “He's able to change speeds; his curveball he got working. His slider/fastball were good. His changeup again was good.
“We needed the innings. I saw his pitch count after the first couple (of innings) and I was a little concerned but he got right back in it. I was hoping for seven (innings). I thought that was ideal.”
It didn't hurt that the Brewers immediately responded to the Padres' early run with one of their own on Ryan Braun's RBI double in the bottom of the first. Then came the big blow of the night—a three-run homer in the second inning by Jean Segura off San Diego starter Tyson Ross.
It was the first homer since last July 30 for Segura, who tailed off at the end of an otherwise brilliant season. He started so slow this season, Roenicke recently dropped him from second to eighth in the batting order to help take remove some pressure.
“It always feels pretty good when you hit a ball out,” said Segura, who went 2 for 3. “I feel pretty good at the plate. Hopefully, it will come back. I'll just keep grinding.
“This game is tough. It's not easy to play baseball, especially in the big leagues. We're here to learn and help the team win some ball games. In particular, you try to do the best you can in the field.”
Asked if it bothered him to be dropped in the batting order, Segura diplomatically responded, “I don't want to say no or yes. He made that decision. I don't have any comment about it. I just want to be out there no matter what.”
Davis capped the Brewers' scoring with a towering home run to left leading off the fourth, his first at home. In four previous starts, Ross had not allowed more than three earned runs and surrendered just one home run, but the Brewers already had enough runs to beat him.
Lohse made sure of that, pitching out of his toughest jam in the seventh by striking out pinch hitter Yasmani Grandal with two on and two out. The Padres scored an unearned run that frame and kept Lohse dancing with shards of broken bats flying past him on two occasions.
“We had a good mix going, had a good game plan,” said Lohse. “We had a couple of things we wanted to do and got them done. I pitched in more than I usually do. We really moved it around.”
As usual, the bullpen took it from there. Tyler Thornburg and Will Smith took care of the eighth inning, with Smith coming on with a runner on and one down and striking out both hitters he faced.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez took it from there, converting his ninth save in as many opportunities. Smith, Thornburg and Rodriguez have combined for 33 appearances while allowing just one run.
“They've got a great mentality going right now,” said Lohse. “They're just going right at guys. Everything is clicking as far as the pitching goes. You love to see that.”