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Padres-Brewers Preview

The Associated Press

Kyle Lohse has been a big reason why the Milwaukee Brewers have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.

If Tyson Ross can pitch like he has his last two starts, the San Diego Padres might be able to start saying the same.

A day after both teams put on impressive displays on the mound, Lohse and Ross will start opposite each other Wednesday night in the conclusion of this three-game set at Miller Park.

The Brewers (15-6) are second in the majors with a 2.59 ERA, while the Padres (10-11) are fourth at 2.70.

Lohse (3-1, 2.67 ERA) now gets the ball looking for a fourth straight win for the first time since April 10-27, 2011, with St. Louis. He battled through his latest outing Friday, throwing a season-high 110 pitches while allowing three runs - one earned - in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-3 win at Pittsburgh.

"It wasn't pretty, but they all count the same," Lohse said. "Sometimes, you get a win that's ugly, sometimes you've got to catch some breaks and sometimes you've got to grind it out in key situations and find a way to win."

Lohse has certainly done that over his last four starts against San Diego, winning three while compiling a 1.73 ERA. He allowed one run in seven innings of a 3-1 victory at Miller Park on July 24.

The Padres will counter with Ross (2-2, 2.13), who is aiming for a third straight win after making a major change to his mechanics.

The right-hander allowed 11 runs - five earned - and walked nine over 10 1-3 innings in his first two starts, but has allowed one run with 16 strikeouts and two walks in 15 innings over his last two.

"He just sort of reverted back to sort of muscling the ball with his upper body and not really driving off the mound and keeping his right foot securely against the rubber and pushing off," manager Bud Black said. "When a pitcher doesn't use his lower half, his stuff's going to suffer."

Ross fanned nine and held San Francisco to four hits in eight scoreless innings of a 2-1 win on Friday.

"Since I've made that adjustment I've been more consistent in the strike zone and had a better feel for all my pitches," he said.

Ross was impressive in his only start against Milwaukee on July 23, yielding one run and two hits while fanning six batters in six innings of a 6-2 victory.

San Diego could use another strong outing considering it's hitting .212 while averaging 2.4 runs on the road.

While the lineup was held to seven hits by the Brewers on Tuesday, six Padres hurlers combined to yield the same number with 13 strikeouts while Chase Headley's solo shot provided the difference in a 2-1, 12-inning victory.

"The pitching was the story. All of our guys did a fantastic job," Black said.

The bullpen tossed six scoreless innings and leads the majors with a 1.80 ERA. It's allowed one run in 29 innings over the last 10 games.

Brewers slugger Ryan Braun went 0 for 5 on Tuesday, striking out against three different relievers - including closer Huston Street for the game's final out. The right fielder was 9 for 24 with three homers and six RBIs over the previous six games.

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