Baseball / Sports

Home runs hurt Lohse in Brewers' loss

MILWAUKEE -- It appeared as if the Milwaukee Brewers were going to be in for a big night when Carlos Gomez hammered Alex Wood's first offering of the game for a leadoff home run.

Then, just like that, their offense went silent.

Unable to string anything together against the herky-jerky, 23-year-old left-hander, the Brewers fell to the Atlanta Braves, 5-2, in front of a smallish crowd of 21,503 on Tuesday night at Miller Park.

Wood, who posted a microscopic 0.45 earned-run average in spring training, allowed just five hits and that one run over seven innings for a Braves rotation searching for some good news after being decimated by season-ending elbow injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy.

"He had a lot of deception," Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said of Wood, who also walked three and struck out five in picking up the victory.

"He really hid the ball well. Mixed in the changeup, and that changeup is in the back of your mind when he's throwing that heater. He looked real good. It was a pretty good battle."

Wood outdueled Brewers veteran right-hander Kyle Lohse, who pitched a solid game but was done in by a two-run homer by Jason Heyward in the fifth inning and a solo shot by Freddie Freeman in the sixth.

Gomez sent a 90-mph fastball from Wood 423 feet out to straightaway center to stake the Brewers to a 1-0 lead.

Ryan Braun walked and Lucroy then singled with two outs to bring up Khris Davis, who sent a shot right back through the box. Wood somehow deflected the ball to shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who fielded it and threw to first to limit the damage to the one run.

The Brewers got two on with nobody out in the second against Wood, but Lohse struck out and Gomez grounded into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

Wood settled in from there, allowing only two-out singles to Aramis Ramirez and Lucroy over the next five innings.

"We had a couple of opportunities," manager Ron Roenicke said. "First and second, no outs, that's a huge play. When you get those opportunities, you need to put pressure on them. Davis' line drive back up the middle, if that goes through it's a run.

"A couple of situations where we had chances."

Lohse, who shut the Braves out on two hits in Atlanta in his final start of 2013, mowed through the Atlanta lineup over the first three innings.

He faced his first spot of trouble in the fourth when Freeman singled to lead off. Dan Uggla then drilled a two-out double to the gap in left-center, but Gomez hit Jean Segura with a perfect cutoff throw, and Segura relayed to Lucroy in plenty of time to cut down Freeman at the plate.

"That was huge," said Lohse. "They've been working hard on that all spring and they did a great job of picking me up right there. I wish I would have picked them up a little better after that."

In the fifth, Lohse issued a one-out walk to Simmons and struck out Wood only to see Heyward homer to right. That shot snapped the Braves' 22-inning scoreless streak against the Brewers dating to last season and gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead.

The next inning, Freeman belted a leadoff homer to right on a full count to extend the lead to 3-1.

Lohse finished out the seventh, registering his eighth strikeout to end the frame, before making way for Zach Duke in the eighth. Lohse allowed five hits, three runs (earned) and two walks.

"I wouldn't have gotten in the situation with Heyward if I'd have not walked Simmons," said Lohse. "That for me was more of a key. Made a decent pitch to Heyward; it just wasn't up enough. There was a spot I was trying to go to around his hands and it was just low enough that he could get to it.

"Freeman, I just missed with a backdoor slider and tried to go back to it again and just got around it too much. Came back way too much plate."

Freeman homered off Duke to make it 4-1. Milwaukee tacked on a run in the eighth against David Carpenter as Gomez walked, stole second, went to third on a throwing error and scored on an Ramirez single.

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