Brewers bats offer Lohse little support
Kyle Lohse did all he could to make his return to St. Louis a success. Sharp, efficient and locked in, Lohse allowed just two runs in seven strong innings.
But Milwaukee's offense could manage just two hits, and the Brewers were shut down by Cardinals rookie right-hander Shelby Miller in a 2-0 loss at Busch Stadium, falling to 2-7 on the season.
Lohse - who got a standing ovation before his first at-bat - has allowed just three earned runs in 13 innings this season but has yet to get a win. The Brewers have scored just one run in his two starts, and they wasted a strong outing from a starting pitcher for the second straight game.
Wednesday night it was the bullpen blowing Wily Peralta's strong start; Friday the lack of offense burned Lohse.
"It's tough we're not scoring runs for him," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Kyle threw the ball really well. That's a good offensive team. He spotted the ball really well. Changed speeds on his pitches. His curveball was really good.
"It's a shame. You get those kind of outings and sometimes you just don't score. But if he keeps throwing like that, we are going to have a nice year with him."
Norichika Aoki led off the game with a single, but the Brewers didn't get another hit until Jean Segura's one-out single in the ninth inning. Other than Aoki's single, Miller allowed just one other baserunner when he hit Alex Gonzalez with a pitch in the second inning.
Miller retired the last 17 batters he faced, and 21 straight Brewers were retired before Aoki walked with one out in the ninth inning. Throwing mostly fastballs, Miller baffled the Brewers all night long. Milwaukee hitters fouled off quite a few pitches and ran the rookie's pitch count up but didn't square up the ball.
"(He had) life on (his fastball)," Roenicke said. "It was 92 (mph) and the way we were swinging it looked like it was 100. The ball comes out different than most people's fastball. We didn't get any good swings on him."
Lohse allowed three straight hits - including a David Freese RBI single - to start the third inning, but limited the damage to just one run by striking out Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma and getting Miller to ground into a double play.
The right-hander was cruising along until the seventh inning when Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina jumped on a hanging sinker for a solo home run and a big insurance run. With the way Milwaukee's bats were swinging, a two-run deficit felt more like six.
Lohse went to a three-ball count just once, induced 11 ground ball outs and threw just 83 pitches in seven innings. But despite how good he was in his return to the city he played the past five seasons in, the rookie that helped make the decision to let him go easier was just a bit better.
"I feel like I was locating my pitches more," Miller said. "I still threw a lot of pitches and got a lot of foul balls early in the game. I knew I needed to get the ball down and get quicker innings. Eventually I did and it turned into a good game for me.
"I was trying to get them to put the ball in play early. I wasn't doing that early in the game, they were fighting. I made big pitches when it mattered and that's the difference in good games and bad games."
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