Brewers' Lohse makes the most of support

Andrew Wagner, The SportsXChange
The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- Pitching with a narrow lead is nothing new for Kyle Lohse, who took the mound to start the second half with the seventh-lowest run support in the National League at 3.30 runs per game.
The Milwaukee Brewers' offense could not muster much more than that Friday, but Lohse made sure it was enough with six shutout innings in a 2-0 victory over the Miami Marlins at Miller Park.
Lohse gave up five hits with five strikeouts and did not walk a batter as he won for the third time in his last four decisions.
"Outstanding," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Got away with some pitches in the first inning. Made some mistakes, and they flew out deep to center -- I wasn't sure where that ball was going. Settled down a little the second inning.
"From then on, the command got really good. Threw some great fastballs in spots, slider was outstanding. He's a pitcher that's able to go deep into a game and throw up a lot of zeros."
Signed to a three-year, $33 million contract barely a week before Opening Day, Lohse started the season 1-6 with a 4.37 ERA. He has settled in nicely in his last 10 starts, posting a 5-1 record with a 2.62 ERA.
"It felt good to get the second half started this way," Lohse said. "We just have to keep playing some clean games and just keep it going."
Only once did Miami put multiple runners on base against Lohse. That came in the fifth, when Adeiny Hechavarria and Jeff Mathis picked up back-to-back, two-out singles. But Marlins starter Jacob Turner ended the inning with a groundout to third.
Hechavarria was the only Miami player to collect multiple hits, finishing 3-for-3.
"Lohse did a nice job keeping us off-balance, mixing it in and out," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "'Hech' had a nice night -- three hits -- but we need those big boys at the top of the order to do the damage and that didn't happen."
Turner (3-2) worked into the sixth, allowing two Milwaukee runs and five hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
"He had to grind a little bit there and they had some good at-bats on him, but at the end of the day he did his job and gave us a chance to win that ballgame," Redmond said. "They got two home runs and we got shut down. Lohse did a nice job. They got the big hits and we didn't."
Both Milwaukee runs came via the long ball.
Juan Francisco put Milwaukee on the board with a home run to lead off the fourth inning. It was his 12th homer of the season and his seventh since being acquired by the Brewers in a June 3 trade with Atlanta.
The Brewers took a 2-0 lead in the fifth on Carlos Gomez's team-leading 15th homer of the season.
"I definitely didn't have my best stuff," said Turner, who had allowed just one home run in his first eight starts this season. "There's no excuse for the home runs. Francisco, I knew he got it. He's got power to the opposite field. Gomez was an 0-2 terrible pitch. The put good swings on bad pitches."
Turner opened the sixth by hitting Rickie Weeks, ending his day. Ryan Webb, A.J. Ramos and Dan Jennings kept Milwaukee off the board, but the Marlins' offense couldn't come back against the Brewers' bullpen, which came into the game with an MLB-best 2.67 ERA since May 1.
After Lohse gave way to a pinch-hitter in the sixth, John Axford, Jim Henderson and Francisco Rodriguez combined to preserve the shutout, with Rodriguez throwing a perfect ninth for his 10th save of the season.
NOTES: Neither team reported any issues with the Miller Park field after the grounds crew replaced approximately 2,800 square feet of grass in center field where a stage was erected for Paul McCartney's concert earlier in the week. ... Marlins RHP Chad Qualls was reinstated from the paternity list. ... Ryan Braun was in the Brewers' starting lineup for just the second time since returning from the disabled list July 8. He made one start on July 9 but missed the Brewers' four-game series at Arizona because of a family emergency. Braun went 0-for-3 with a strikeout ... After falling to 13-41, the Marlins are 22-18 since May 31, tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second-best record in baseball during that stretch. ... Roenicke said he was not sure 3B Aramis Ramirez would be ready to rejoin the team on Monday when he is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list. Ramirez has been out since July 8 with a sore right knee.