Lohse, Ramirez step up their game at right time

Veterans could be trade candidates as deadline looms

Lohse, Ramirez step up their game at right time

PHILADELPHIA -- Baseball's trading season was unofficially underway Wednesday as the calendar flipped to July, and Brewers veterans Kyle Lohse and Aramis Ramirez are picking the perfect time to pick up their games.

Lohse pitched into the seventh inning and collected three hits while Ramirez continued to compile RBIs in a 9-5 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Each player is in the final year of his contract and knows he could be traded before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline by a Brewers team that has won seven of its last nine but still owns the second-worst record in the Major Leagues at 32-48.

"It seems like it's been trade season since May for us," Ramirez said. "Everybody's name has been out there. I've been around, I know how things work. Whatever is going to happen, it's going to happen. I just go out and play my game. That's the only thing I can control."

Ramirez's two-run double

The same goes for Lohse, whose game has been off for most of this season. After winning his second straight start, his ERA is 6.24.

"We're here right now," Lohse said, "and that's all we're worried about. You can't control much else. Obviously, many of us wish our season stats looked better than they do right now, but you can't fix it all in one night.

"You just keep doing the things that you do to be successful. Tonight was another step in the right direction for me."

In front of a slew of scouts, Lohse pitched better than indicated by his final line: 6 1/3 innings, nine hits, four earned runs, two walks, four strikeouts. Three of the Phillies' runs scored on well-placed hits, including Cesar Hernandez's opposite-field, RBI triple that hugged the third-base line in the seventh and highlighted a two-run inning. Lohse entered that frame working with an 8-2 lead.

"I thought he ran out of gas a little bit in the seventh, but he was really sharp for six innings," manager Craig Counsell said.

Ramirez, meanwhile, made his presence felt beginning with a two-run double in the third inning, giving the veteran third baseman two-RBI hits in three consecutive games, and seven total RBIs in the first 21 innings of this series.

Is this the hot streak he's been seeking?

"I don't know. It's only three games," Ramirez said. "Hopefully I can get on top of my game and keep doing what I'm doing. I feel pretty good at the plate. I think I'm using the whole field, and I'm hitting some good pitches."

He said he would do his best to ignore trade rumors. The same went for Lohse.

"If you get distracted, you're not doing the things you need to do to help us win," Lohse said.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.