Besides a rough stretch in May, Kyle Lohse has been exactly what the Milwaukee Brewers expected when they signed him a week before the season started.
Two days after having a start cut short due to a rain delay, Lohse was at his best Wednesday evening in Washington. A solo home run was the only blemish on his line, as Lohse worked eight strong innings in Milwaukee's 4-1 win.
"It was really good," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Lohse's start. "He actually started off a little bit where his command was OK. As the game went on, he mixed in his off-speed better, his fastball was located better, thought his slider was located better. I thought the last few innings were the best."
Anthony Rendon jumped on a first-pitch curveball for a two-out, solo home run in the seventh inning, but Lohse bounced back to work a perfect eighth inning, finishing at 103 pitches.
Lohse almost was pinch-hit for in the sixth inning, but Logan Schafer's two-out, two-run triple let Roenicke keep Lohse in the game with the Brewers up 4-0.
"It always feels good when you can help the team," Schafer said. "Getting a few RBI in a crucial point when we needed to help Kyle get some run support felt great, I'm not going to lie. Kyle pitched a heck of a ballgame. He was the reason we were able to do the things we did today."
Though he was still looking strong after eight innings, Roenicke had no thought of trying to let Lohse finish the game on a hot and humid night.
"It gets to the point where you are drained a little bit more than normally," Roenicke said. "He did his job. It's a bigger question when a guy's got a shutout going. Then it really becomes a question for me."
Almost costly miscue: A mental lapse cost the Brewers what could have been an important insurance run in the eighth inning.
With runners at first and third and one out, Sean Halton hit a long fly ball to center field that was plenty deep enough to score Aramis Ramirez. Thinking there was two outs in the inning, Rickie Weeks kept running and was easily doubled off first base.
Trying to get Weeks' attention, Ramirez didn't run as hard as he could into home plate. Because Weeks was doubled off first base before Ramirez touched home, the run didn't count. If Ramirez had scored before the force out at first base, the run would have counted.
"If we run harder home and we score before they double up Rickie, the run scores," Roenicke said. "When you are playing and you are a player out there, you can't think of those things. Just play hard and everybody can figure out what is going on. Rami was trying to get Rick's attention like (Brewers third base coach Ed Sedar) was to stop him. Not knowing the rules, you can't think that quick and say 'I have to score before they double him up.' Players aren't going to think that quick."
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