MILWAUKEE — It had been some time since everything clicked at once for the Milwaukee Brewers. Struggles in one facet of the game would lead to the demise of the others.
At long last, the Brewers got a well-pitched game, the offense put up a crooked number and the defense made big plays in a 9-1 victory over Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon.
It all added up to one of Milwaukee’s best all-around performances of the season, as Kyle Lohse went eight innings for his second win of the season, extending the Brewers’ winning streak to three games.
After the Phillies put two on with one out in the first inning, Brewers right fielder Norichika Aoki gunned Michael Young out at the plate as he tried to score on a Ryan Howard single. From then on, Lohse was in complete control.
He faced the minimum from that point until Phillies catcher Humberto Quintero broke the shutout with a solo home run with two outs in the eighth.
“All of his pitches, he got working,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “The first inning was a little shaky. I thought it was huge, the throw that Nori made to home to get us an out there. After that, his command got really good. His fastball was located great, down in the zone. Sliders were all good. He threw some nice curveballs, great change-ups. He got it all working.”
Though it now has been 381 games since Milwaukee’s last complete game, Lohse wasn’t lobbying too hard to go back out for the ninth inning because of the leg and elbow issues he’s been fighting all season long.
For the first time in a few starts, Lohse’s elbow was healthy enough to allow him to snap off his good slider.
“Not being able to snap that off, I’ve been throwing kind of a lazy thing up there,” Lohse said. “I’ve gotten hurt more times than not because I either can’t go to it or I throw one and it’s not as sharp as it needs to be. To be successful, I have to have both sides of the plate — that slider running off and that change-up running off the other side.”
Lohse’s start was the longest outing by a Brewers starter this season and his longest outing since 2011. The Brewers desperately needed a deep outing by Lohse after two straight bullpen days.
Now Milwaukee must hope Lohse’s start will be contagious to the rest of the pitching staff.
“If we’re going to turn this around, that’s where it needs to start,” Lohse said. “I’ve talked to all the guys. We have to start doing a better job of keeping the team in those games. I feel like if we keep it tight, our offense is going to be able to pick us up. If we fall way behind, that’s not good for anybody.”
For the first time since their nine-game winning streak in April, the Brewers have won three games in a row. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games, a minor step in inching their way back toward .500.
“I’m real happy about it,” Roenicke said of the three-game winning streak. “We played a good series and we haven’t had too many good series. We played really well.
“It’s the first time in a while that (a) game doesn’t go down to two outs in the ninth inning. That was nice to see.”