Lohse settles in for quality start in win over Padres
AUG 26, 2014 2:33a ET
Kyle Lohse's return to the mound ended up a success, but the veteran right-hander had to pitch through some early command issues in order to settle in.
Despite walking three and allowing three hits in his first two innings of work, Lohse calmed down to surrender just one run over six innings in his first outing since having his last start skipped due to a right ankle injury.
Milwaukee's offense aided Lohse to his 12th victory of the season by exploding for 16 hits to cruise to a 10-1 victory over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Monday.
"We won, so that was good," Lohse said. "I was a little out of whack early and kind of settled in. The ankle was fine; it was one of those things where I felt really good, really strong, and I had to slow everything down a little bit. I got into a little bit of a groove there in the middle innings. It helps when we keep putting up runs."
Having 12 days between starts may have contributed to the way Lohse threw the ball in the early innings. He anticipated his arm feeling unusually strong for this late in the season and also knew he would have to work his way back into a rhythm.
"I'm not used to having almost two weeks off late in the season," Lohse said. "Everything else has been feeling really good, I just needed that little break to get ahead of the ankle soreness. Once I got out there and kept missing with the fastball it was a little frustrating, but I knew what I was doing wrong. It was a matter of staying back and not trying to force the fastball in there.
Lohse worked around a pair of first-inning walks but found trouble again in the second. After a Cameron Maybin one-out single, Alexi Amarista dumped a ball just fair down the left-field line for a run-scoring triple to tie the game at 1-1.
A walk to Chris Nelson to put runners at the corners with one out for pitcher Eric Stults, who laid down a bunt down the first-base line. Lohse pounced on the bunt attempt to make an impressive scoop and throw to catcher Martin Maldonado to get the speedy Amarista trying to score.
Lohse then had to stand around for nearly four minutes as the umpires reviewed whether Maldonado illegally blocked the plate and had to get an extra out when inexperienced first baseman Jonathan Lucroy ventured too far away from the bag on a groundball to second base off the bat of Yangervis Solarte.
"As long as they get them right, I don't mind (the delay)," Lohse said. "It seemed like it took a little extra time to get some calls.
"That one took a while at home plate, but I understand they're looking at it from every angle to try to get the call right. I don't want to be out there too long, but I'd rather they get them right than they go the other way."
With the bases loaded, Lohse got Will Venable to swing at a fastball up and out of the strike zone on a 3-2 pitch to work out of the jam.
After Solarte's infield single in the second, Lohse retired 10 in a row before Seth Smith singled to start the bottom of the sixth. The Padres had two on with nobody out in the sixth following a walk to Yasmani Grandal, but Lohse struck out the next two batters he faced and got out of the inning when Maldonado picked Smith off second base on a snap throw.
"I think it was just attacking more of the strike zone," Maldonado said of what changed for Lohse. "He was trying too much to throw to the corners early in the game. Then he attacked the strike zone. He got that breaking ball going and was attacking the strike zone."
The Brewers led 4-1 entering the top of the sixth thanks to RBI singles from Aramis Ramirez and Maldonado and solo home runs from Ryan Braun and Ramirez. Milwaukee added three more runs in the seventh, one in the eighth and two more in the ninth to score 10 runs for the first time since July 13.
"Just really good at-bats," Braun said. "Up and down the lineup, everybody put together some really good at-bats. Swung at pitches we should be swinging at, took the pitches we should be taking, hit the ball all over the ballpark. Really good game all the way around."
Carlos Gomez, Braun and Ramirez all finished with three hits, as six different players drove in a run. Ramirez finished a triple away the cycle and drove in three runs, while Gerardo Parra tied a season-high with three RBI despite entering in the seventh inning.
"Really good job offensively today," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ". . . Everybody seemed to chip in. That's always nice to see."
Braun exits early: A first-inning collision while legging out an infield single eventually caused Braun to exit the game in the seventh with a left-quad contusion.
Amarista's throw on Braun's chopper was low and wide, causing Padres first baseman Jake Goebbert's knee to hit the right fielder's quad. Braun, who compared the feeling to a charley horse, was confident he'll be able to play Tuesday.
"I'm OK," Braun said. "I didn't want to come out; I was OK. Just a little banged up. It was pretty painful knee-to-knee contact. It didn't feel good for me and I know it didn't feel good for him, either. It was kind of one of those fluke plays that happens from time to time."
Although he was uncomfortable taking key players out so early, Roenicke was able to give Braun, Ramirez and Jonathan Lucroy the final three defensive innings off. Carlos Gomez came out of the game in the ninth.
"Brauny (leaving) early was because his leg was hurting," Roenicke said. "Rami same thing. He's been fighting the hamstring and I wanted to get him off his feet. Luc it was defense.
"I usually wouldn't do that in the seventh inning. I would wait. That's why I really wasn't sure I was going to do it. Brauny I had to because of his leg, but the other guys I would rather wait a little longer."
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