Lohse sees plenty to like in efficient effort

Righty goes 6 innings on 76 pitches, gives way to pinch-hitter

Lohse sees plenty to like in efficient effort

DENVER -- There was one pitch Kyle Lohse would've liked to rethrow, but nearly everything else about Saturday's outing left the Brewers right-hander pleased.

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Aside from Charlie Blackmon's fifth-inning homer -- which came on an elevated changeup -- Lohse was rather efficient in a 5-1 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field. He needed just 76 pitches to navigate through six innings, giving up four hits and three runs. Lohse walked only one and struck out five.

"That's what I've been looking for," Lohse said. "I felt like I've thrown the ball close to that several times before and just have been on the wrong side of some big innings. But today, I was able to get ahead of guys, which was a big emphasis. I'd been picking around early in counts, but today I was able to go at them for the most part."

Entering Saturday, Lohse's recent figures were bleak. He owned an 8.31 ERA over his previous five starts, surrendering 40 hits and 24 runs in 26 innings. But that version of Lohse wasn't evident against the Rockies, who managed just three baserunners through 4 1/3 innings.

Blackmon's homer came with two outs and gave Colorado a 3-0 lead, but Lohse rebounded with a 1-2-3 sixth. He was lifted for pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy in the seventh, with Milwaukee in a crucial two-on, one-out scenario.

"He can definitely gain some confidence from it because he pitched well," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It's a National League game, otherwise he's probably throwing a complete game."

Home run aside, Lohse said his changeup was effective most of the day, and that his slider was "probably the best it's been when I've thrown it here in my career."

He also tinkered with some mechanical adjustments between starts, which he said helped keep hitters off-guard.

"Just a little more movement with my hands going over my head again," Lohse said. "Just coming set a little different out of the stretch too. I think some hitters got a little comfortable. Maybe they were seeing something, so I just mixed it up a little bit.

"It's frustrating losing a ballgame, but you try to look at the positives. And I found a lot."

Dargan Southard is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.