Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse tried for a second time to secure his 10th win of the season, but surrendered four runs in five innings as the Crew lost to the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 Friday at Great American Ball Park.
With the loss, the Brewers (51-36) matched their season high with their fourth straight loss. They also lost four in a row from May 17-20.
The loss—coupled with the St. Louis Cardinals’ 3-2 win over the Miami Marlins Friday—cut Milwaukee’s lead in the National League Central to four games, the smallest its division lead has been since they were 3½ games up on June 18.
The Brewers have had sole possession of first place in the division since April 9.
Milwaukee has traditionally struggled at the Reds’ home park, falling to 1-4 this season at GABP. They are 39-58 since the stadium opened for the 2003 season.
Lohse (9-3) didn’t pitch terribly, allowing seven hits and three earned runs with a walk and eight strikeouts, and the Reds were just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
But Cincinnati did most of its damage when runners weren’t in scoring position.
In the bottom of the third, Lohse surrendered a one-out single to Reds’ pitcher Alfredo Simon (11-3) and, as is often the case, it came back to bite him when Billy Hamilton yanked Lohse’s next pitch into the right-field seats to give Cincinnati a 2-0 lead.
The Brewers, meanwhile, had trouble taking advantage of opportunities against Simon (11-3), who allowed two runs in 7.1 innings.
Milwaukee had runners in scoring position in the first, second and third innings, but came up empty and didn’t get on the board until the seventh.
Aramis Ramirez was hit by a pitch leading off the inning … or at least it looked that way. Replays pretty clearly showed the ball hit his bat and not his hand, but the Reds did not challenge the ruling and Ramirez went to first.
He moved up to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a single by Overbay.
Jean Segura hit a ball deep into the hole at shortstop for an RBI infield single.
Simon was finally chased after surrendering a solo homer to Jonathan Lucroy with one out in the eighth. Lucroy’s opposite field shot gave him nine homers on the season.
But Jonathan Broxton came on to get the final two outs of the inning, getting some defensive help from Schumaker, who dove to rob Carlos Gomez of a likely double on a sinking liner near the foul line.
Aroldis Chapman retired the side in order in the ninth for his 17th save.
Tom Gorzelanny allowed a hit and struck out the side in the sixth, Rob Wooten worked around a hit with a double-play grounder in the seventh and Zach Duke struck out two and allowed a hit in the eighth.
Lucroy was 2-for-4 for Milwaukee, which had only six hits.
The Brewers will send Matt Garza (5-5, 4.10) to the mound Saturday at 3:10 p.m. Central as they try to avoid their first five-game skid of the season. Cincinnati counters with right-hander Homer Bailey (8-4, 4.39 ERA).