Before the Milwaukee Brewers embark on a western road trip, they hope Kyle Lohse can salvage the finale of a three-game series versus the Washington Nationals Sunday from Miller Park.
The Brewers have lost the first two meetings with the Nationals and three in a row overall since winning three straight and will turn to the veteran Lohse, who is 6-1 with a 2.10 earned run average in his last 11 starts. Milwaukee is 8-3 in that time and saw Lohse toss five shutout innings in a 5-0 win against the Chicago Cubs on Monday.
Lohse has allowed only one run over his past three starts and evened his mark at 7-7 in 22 starts to go along with a 3.22 ERA. The right-hander defeated Washington on July 3 with eight innings of one-run ball in a 4-1 win and is 5-2 in 15 career games (13 starts) in this series.
Milwaukee hopes Lohse can keep up his success against the Nationals and the club sustained a 3-0 loss on Saturday. Donovan Hand is now 0-3 on the season and surrendered all three runs in seven innings of work. Hand scattered five hits, but two were home runs.
"He gave up some home runs but homers are mistake pitches and solo homers aren't going to beat you if you're swinging the bat okay, which we didn't," Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said.
The Brewers mustered just four hits in defeat and will open a nine-game road trip Monday against the Giants, Mariners and Rangers.
Washington targets a sweep of the Brew Crew and received a promising performance from struggling right-hander Dan Haren, who held Milwaukee to four hits in seven scoreless innings and struck out six.
"Haren pitched great, he had a rough start but I thought as the game went on his rhythm got better, his location got better and made better pitches," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "Great effort."
Tyler Clippard threw a scoreless eighth and Rafael Soriano closed the door in the ninth for his 28th save.
Adam LaRoche and Wilson Ramos both homered and Jayson Werth ended 2-for-3 with a run scored in the win. Werth has five hits in his last two games.
The Nats have won five of seven games and is 6 1/2 games off the wild card lead in the National League. With Atlanta on fire and running away with the NL East, the Nationals will have to settle for the wild card. Washington will return to D.C. to start a nine-game homestand versus the rival Braves, Phillies and Giants.
Toeing the rubber for the Nats on Sunday will be Taylor Jordan. The rookie Jordan is 1-3 in six starts with a 3.31 ERA and won for the first time in his career in last Sunday's 14-1 blasting of the New York Mets. Jordan had his best outing in the majors, tossing six innings of one-run ball with a career- high seven strikeouts.
Jordan, a right-hander, faced Milwaukee on July 4 in an 8-5 win and did not receive a decision, charged with two runs in 5 2/3 frames.
The Nationals are 4-2 against the Brewers this season.