It took Kyle Lohse three months to get back to .500.
Lohse (7-7, 3.22 ERA) dug himself a deep hole early, going 1-6 with a 4.37 ERA over his first 10 starts.
The right-hander managed to even out his record, however, with a 6-1 record and a 2.29 ERA over his last 12 starts. His last three have been particularly good, as he has posted a 0.47 ERA with 17 strikeouts against three walks.
His success continued at Wrigley Field on Thursday, when he shut out the Chicago Cubs for six innings, but didn't get a decision as Milwaukee eventually won 5-0.
"He's done what we hoped he would do," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "It's too bad because the record with the way he's pitched should be better."
Lohse has had an uptick in his strikeouts the last three outings, striking out 8.05 batters per nine innings after averaging 5.54 over his first 19 starts.
Lohse's run to the break-even mark included a dazzling performance at Nationals Park on July 3, when he limited the Nationals to a solo home run and three other hits in eight innings of a 4-1 Brewers victory. Lohse threw 71 of his 103 pitches for strikes and held Denard Span , Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper hitless in 11 collective at-bats.
He'll be under pressure to help a struggling Brewers offense that has managed just two runs during its three-game losing streak. Milwaukee (46-64) is playing without suspended slugger Ryan Braun and injured regulars Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart .
"I don't want to keep making excuses, but we're without our 3-4-5 hitters so we're going to battle the best that we can," Roenicke said. "You take those guys out of any lineup and you're going to struggle at times."
Milwaukee managed four hits in Saturday night's 3-0 loss to Washington, including an 0-for-14 performance from the two through five hitters in its lineup.
Ramos is 5 for 16 with two homers in his last five games, but LaRoche is 2 for 30 in his last eight despite his solo shot Saturday.
Taylor Jordan (1-3, 3.31) is hoping for offensive backing similar to his last outing. After receiving just eight runs of support over his first five starts, the Nationals provided the right-hander 13 on Sunday in a 14-1 rout against the New York Mets for his first major league victory.
"I'm extremely happy," Jordan said. "For a little bit I was wondering. I go 0-4, 0-5 - am I helping the team? Then finally just to get that one win means that I am."
Jordan held the Mets to a run and five hits in six innings, striking out seven while walking just one. The rookie has established a strong sense of control, walking only five in 35 1-3 innings.
Jordan's second big-league start came one month ago against the Brewers, whom he held to two runs in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-5 Washington win.
|July 24, 2013||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Blister|
|July 24, 2013||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Left knee soreness|
|July 04, 2013||Ross Detwiler||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|June 23, 2013||Dan Haren||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 23, 2013||Jayson Werth||Day-to-Day||Left game - left groin strain|
|June 23, 2013||Dan Haren||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 02, 2013||Tom Gorzelanny||Day-to-Day||Left elbow contusion|
|July 31, 2013||Yovani Gallardo||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|July 30, 2013||Yovani Gallardo||Day-to-Day||Left hamstring tightness|
|July 27, 2013||Jean Segura||Day-to-Day||Right forearm tightness|
|July 23, 2013||Donovan Hand||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right hand|
|July 21, 2013||Carlos Gomez||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- With Ryan Braun suspended and their other sluggers injured, the Milwaukee Brewers need to find creative ways to score runs. Jeff Bianchi did just that on Sunday.
Bianchi lofted a single that dropped just behind Washington's drawn-in infield, breaking a tie and capping a five-run sixth inning in the Milwaukee Brewers ' 8-5 win over the Nationals.
"Sometimes you're supposed to hit it where they're not, right?" Bianchi asked rhetorically after hitting his clutch single and executing a perfect squeeze bunt to score another run.
With the score tied 4-4 and runners at second and third, Bianchi's soft bloop off Fernando Abad (0-3) dropped in behind second base as Anthony Rendon raced back to make a play. It allowed Khris Davis to score easily from third and Juan Francisco to just beat the throw home with a perfect slide, giving the Brewers the lead for good.
"I was just able to get a pitch that I just barely got the bat on," Bianchi said.
With Braun done for the season, Aramis Ramirez on the disabled list and Corey Hart out for the year with knee injuries, the soft hit by Bianchi was good enough for a Brewers team that managed only two runs in the first two games of the series.
"One inning, sometimes it's just one big at-bat - you don't know what's going to turn things around," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "We got some breaks."
John Axford (5-4) allowed a home run to Adam LaRoche in the top of the sixth but nothing more to earn the win. Jim Henderson pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 18 chances.
Milwaukee snapped a three-game losing streak and Roenicke hopes the comeback helps his team during its coming nine-game road trip.
"I really enjoyed this," Roenicke said. "You get down, 3-0, and you're thinking the offense hasn't been scoring so it's going to be a little tough.
"Then you start seeing some good things happen, then a lot of good things happen and it makes you feel good, especially going on a road trip," he said. "We've got a tough time ahead of us so hopefully this is good for their confidence. It should be."
The Brewers were trailing 4-1 against Washington starter Taylor Jordan until breaking through in the sixth.
Logan Schafer hit an infield single, Jean Segura doubled and Jonathan Lucroy walked on five pitches to load the bases with no outs. Carlos Gomez hit a sacrifice fly that scored Schafer to pull the Brewers within 4-2.
Abad replaced Jordan, and pinch-hitter Davis greeted him by hitting a high chopper in front of the plate that bounced over third baseman Ryan Zimmerman for a single, scoring Segura and making it 4-3.
Juan Francisco , batting .111 (3 for 27) against left-handers, was allowed to hit and doubled down the right-field line, scoring Lucroy to tie the score. Bianchi then lofted the ball over the infield for his tie-breaking single.
"There was a lot of tough breaks that inning," Jordan said, acknowledging his arm was tired in the frame. "It's not like they were crushing the ball or anything. Just a couple tough breaks."
Anthony Rendon opened the seventh with a homer off Mike Gonzalez , hit fifth of the year, but Washington couldn't score the rest of the way.
Schafer scored from a third on a groundout by Lucroy to make it 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh.
Bianchi executed a squeeze bunt in the eighth that scored Davis from third to give Milwaukee an 8-5 lead.
Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse gave up three runs, two earned, on five hits and a walk while striking out two in five innings.
"It was good to see us get some of those lucky bounces," Lohse said. "The guys are battling. That's pretty good to see out there. We could have just rolled over. We didn't do that and beat a pretty good team."
The Nationals took a 3-0 lead in the second. Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond were hit by pitches, and Steve Lombardozzi singled to load the bases. Kurt Suzuki then singled to right-center to score Werth and Desmond and make it 2-0.
Jordan attempted a sacrifice bunt, but Lucroy misplayed the ball for an error, allowing Lombardozzi to score for a 3-0 lead.
Notes: LaRoche's homer was his second in two games and 16th this year. ... Roenicke said 3B Ramirez should return sometime during the team's road trip, which begins Monday night at San Francisco. ... Washington RHP Ross Ohlendorf was placed on the 15-day DL Sunday, retroactive to Thursday, due to right shoulder inflammation. LHP Xavier Cedeno was recalled from Triple-A Sycracuse to take his spot on the roster.