Lorenzen struggles in loss to Brewers

Lorenzen struggles in loss to Brewers

CINCINNATI -- From the first batter of his start vs. the Brewers on Friday night, Reds rookie pitcher Michael Lorenzen appeared to have trouble. Lorenzen had a 0-2 count on Gerardo Parra before he hit a foul ball and stayed alive.

Three pitches later and with a 2-2 count, Parra hit a rising 96-mph fastball over the right-field fence for a leadoff home run. Milwaukee didn't stop rolling from there as it handed the Reds a 12-1 defeat.

"I definitely could have done better with that, and pitch selection," Lorenzen said after the shortest start of his brief career. "I felt good, everything felt really good. I think sometimes you second-guess yourself and throw some pitches and there's no conviction behind them. That's what happens sometimes. You just learn from it."

Lorenzen lasted only four innings, but threw 90 pitches in that short period. He allowed three earned runs and five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Aramis Ramirez led off the top of the second inning by hitting a first-pitch fastball to left field for a homer.

Entering the night, Lorenzen was 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA over his previous three starts following a rough June 11 outing at the Cubs where he gave up six runs over 4 1/3 innings.

"It's easy to stand here with a smile on my face when I'm throwing seven [innings] with one run," Lorenzen said. "But that true character comes out when you don't even go five innings and give up three and don't put your team in the best position possible. I talked to [Brayan] Pena, and we talked about tempo and speeding it up. Just improving. I have to take that into my next start and go into it with confidence."

Lorenzen, 23, is 3-3 with 3.58 ERA in 13 games, including 11 starts this season.

Reds manager Bryan Price felt the Brewers, who have scored 40 runs over their last five games, took advantage of all of Lorenzen's mistakes in the strike zone.

"A lot of hard stuff up in the zone, facing a team that's been swinging the bat well," Price said. "So they didn't miss mistakes. A lot of times when you're a stuff pitcher, velocity guy, you can get away with some balls being fouled off that aren't well located.

"Tonight, they squared up and put the barrel on the ball -- especially those first couple of innings. They did some damage, got his pitch count up subsequently and he was out after four [innings] in a 3-0 game."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.