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Brewers' Schafer makes the most of chances in 4-1 win over Nationals

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON - Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Logan Schafer had only 20 at bats against lefties, and was hitting just .150 against southpaws before Wednesday's game against the Nationals.

But he made the most of his new-found opportunities in a 4-1 win over Washington. Schafer, a lefty swinger, stroked a two-run triple off losing Washington southpaw starter Ross Detwiler (2-7) to make the score 4-0 in the sixth.

"I really don't mind lefties all that much. It is just a different approach," said Schafer, 26, who had his first extra-base hit off a lefty this season in 23 at bats.

"It was a huge hit to drive in two," said Ron Roenicke, the Brewers' manager.

Schafer also had an infield single and scored in the fifth inning on a two-run single by Norichika Aoki for the Brewers (34-49), who got three hits from Aoki. In the eighth against lefty reliever Fernando Abad, Schafer was robbed of extra bases on a catch by center fielder Denard Span.

"He knew he had it. It just feels good to hit a ball well," said Schafer, now hitting .215 overall in 2012 after playing in just 16 big league games last season.

The loss left the Nationals (42-42) back at .500 and perplexed after losing for the second day in a row to the last-place Brewers. After scoring 23 runs in two games, the Nationals have just one run in the past two games. And for the second day in a row star Bryce Harper dropped a ball in left field, and was hitless in four at bats as the Nationals can't string together wins in extensive fashion.

"He kept us off balance," Washington catcher Kurt Suzuki said of Kyle Lohse, the Milwaukee starter.

Lohse (4-6) had his shutout broken in the last of the seventh on solo homer by rookie Anthony Rendon, a two-out shot into the Milwaukee bullpen in left. It was his second career homer and came on a hanging curveball, and was the first run in 15 innings for the Nationals.

"I had pretty good stuff," Lohse said. "I am trying to make quality pitches. I am trying to keep it as low as I can. They hit some balls hard. I tried to make them put it in play."

Roenicke said of Lohse: "As the game went on he mixed in off-speed pitches. The last two, three innings were probably the best."

The Brewers do not have a complete game this year but Roenicke said he gave no consideration of sending Lohse out in the ninth on a humid day after he threw 103 pitches.

Lohse gave up four hits in eight innings. Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for the Brewers and earned his seventh save as he retired Rendon for the final out with two runners on. Moments earlier Rendon just missed a double when his drive was foul down the right field line.

Detwiler, who has not won since May 10, gave up eight hits and four runs, two earned.

"He had some good curve balls early in the game," Suzuki said. But Lohse was much better and the Nationals will look to gain a split of the series back of rookie pitcher Taylor Jordan on Thursday morning.

NOTES: The Milwaukee bullpen had a 2.78 ERA going into play Wednesday, the second-best mark in the majors. Last year, the bullpen ERA was 4.66, the worst mark in the majors. ... The bullpen got 11 outs without allowing a run in a 4-0 win on Tuesday. ... Milwaukee SS Jean Segura was back in the starting lineup after getting a day off for rest on Tuesday. Also in the starting lineup was CF Carlos Gomez, who rested a sore shoulder on Tuesday. The two had combined for 196 hits, which was tied for second among National League teammates, before Wednesday. ... C Wilson Ramos (left hamstring) was the DH for a rehab appearance on Wednesday at Single-A Potomac in Woodbridge, Va. He is slated to join the Nationals on Thursday. ... The teams will conclude the four-game series with a special 11:05 a.m. start Thursday on July 4. RHP Jordan is slated to make his first Nationals Park start for Washington. He made his big-league debut on Saturday at New York against the Mets. "I got (the debut) out of the way. I am starting to get comfortable here now," Jordan said Tuesday. ... The Nationals signed veteran C Kelly Shoppach to a minor-league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Syracuse, pending a physical, according to Director of Player Development Doug Harris.
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