Struggling free-agent signee Kyle Lohse gets another chance to get things going on Thursday night when the Milwaukee Brewers visit Target Field to close out a two-game series with the Minnesota Twins.
A 16-game winner with the St. Louis Cardinals last season, Lohse signed with the Brewers shortly before the 2013 schedule began - inking a three-year pact worth $33 million on March 25.
He was 1-1 with a stingy 2.52 earned run average after a 7-1 defeat of the San Diego Padres on April 22, but is 0-4 in five starts since while consistently suffering from a lack of run support.
Lohse's ERA has swelled to 3.76 in the five starts, but the Brewers have scored just seven runs in that time - including one or fewer in three of the five.
He was nicked for four runs on eight hits in six innings of his most recent outing, a 4-2 loss at St. Louis on May 19.
Lohse began his big-league career with the Twins in 2001 and stayed with them through 2006, winning 13 and 14 games in 2002 and 2003, respectively. If he beats them he'll have recorded at least one victory against all 30 big-league teams, a feat accomplished by only 12 other pitchers.
He's opposed by righty P.J. Walters, who makes his second outing of the season.
The 28-year-old Alabama native won two games in 12 starts with the Twins last season and opened 2013 in the minors at Triple-A Rochester, where he went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA in nine starts.
Walters made his season debut on May 25 at Detroit and won a 3-2 verdict after allowing two runs on eight hits in six innings of work.
He has never faced the Brewers in 33 big-league outings.
On Wednesday, Samuel Deduno pitched into the eighth inning and Aaron Hicks homered in Minnesota's 4-1 win.
Deduno (1-1), making just his second start of 2013, gave up four hits and a run over seven-plus frames. The right-hander left after throwing 100 pitches.
"He makes hitters very uncomfortable. He gave us a great performance," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Ryan Doumit hit a two-run double and the Twins got excellent relief efforts from Casey Fien and Glen Perkins to win their third straight game.
They won a pair of games in Milwaukee this week, including Tuesday's 6-5 final in 14 frames despite Jean Segura tying a Brewers record with six hits.
Yuniesky Betancourt drove in the lone run for the Brewers, who have lost five in a row. Milwaukee had just five hits.
"I think we're in a funk," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I thought he (Deduno) moved the ball around well, the fastball runs in, the fastball away cuts. He threw some nice change-ups to get some outs, but we're not swinging the bats well."
Marco Estrada (4-3), who came into the game on a three-start unbeaten string, allowed seven hits and four runs over seven frames. He also had five strikeouts.
The teams split six games in their 2012 series, while the Brewers took four of six played in 2011. Minnesota last won the series in 2009, 5-1.