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MIL@COL: Lohse hurls five frames to earn ninth win

The Rockies have hit a bump in recent weeks, and the Brewers have taken advantage.

The Brewers find themselves in a stretch of playing the Rockies seven times in 10 days, and with Thursday night's 7-4 win, Milwaukee is 4-for-4. So far, the matchup has brought plenty of offense, to the tune of 14.5 combined runs a game.

Each time the Brewers have come away with victories, sending them to the best record in the National League (49-32) and the Rockies to losses in nine of their past 10 games.

"We're getting to know each other pretty well," Rockies starter Tyler Matzek said. "We're going to make some adjustments, and that should help us win."

Friday night's pitching matchup will replicate the one from Sunday, when Matzek and Brewers starter Kyle Lohse faced off. In that game, Lohse allowed three runs in five innings to earn the win against Matzek, who surrendered five runs in 5 1/3 innings to take the loss.

Matzek will be looking to regain the form he found in his first Major League start, when he held Atlanta to two runs over seven innings and struck out seven on June 11. His past two starts have gone less smoothly, as he has given up a combined eight runs and 17 hits over 10 1/3 innings.

Matzek says he is at the point where his emotions are less prevalent, and his focus for Friday is on getting ahead in counts.

"When I fall behind guys and start pitching to contact or trying to pitch to weaker contact, falling behind on 3-1 counts, I'm looking to throw one pitch and get out of that situation," Matzek said. "That's a bad situation to be in. If I can get ahead of guys, I'm more the aggressor, and I'm more the hunter than the prey, which is what you always want to be."

Lohse, meanwhile, will face a Rockies lineup that is without Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer and Nolan Arenado.

"No, there isn't," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said when asked if there was a better lineup in baseball. "If you put their three guys who are hurting into the lineup, that's the best lineup in baseball for me. I know there are some really good lineups, and there are some good lineups in the other league, also. But with those three guys in there, for me, that's the best offense."

The Rockies have still found ways to score runs without those three but will be seeking their first win against the Brewers this season Friday night and the end to a slump nonetheless.

Rockies: Colorado aims to stay aggressive on basepaths
Colorado has been an aggressive running team all season, but that aggression was particularly prevalent in last weekend's series against Milwaukee. The Rockies rank No. 11 in baseball with 50 stolen bases; against the Brewers, they have stolen nine bases in 11 attempts.

Manager Walt Weiss said he wanted the team to continue being proactive when it reaches base, and he said that frequent runners had been thorough in watching video to find good spots in which to run.

"Whenever we have an opportunity, we try to take advantage of it. I green-light most of our guys, so when they feel like they've got an opportunity to run they take it and they look for it," Weiss said. "It certainly has nothing to do with [Jonathan] Lucroy because he's a heck of a catcher, but if a pitcher gives us an opportunity to run, we'll look to exploit that."

Roenicke said that was exactly what happened in Colorado last weekend.

Brewers: Crew seeking more production on the bases
The Brewers, meanwhile, are stealing bases at a lower rate than they did last season. They had a 74 percent success rate in 2013, compared with 68 percent entering Thursday.

"I think we're still running the bases well, but we haven't been as good [stealing bases] as we have in the past," Roenicke said. "Some of that is personnel, and some of that is individually not getting the jumps that they want. I don't understand it, but confidence plays into that like it does hitting, pitching, fielding. It shouldn't, because you're just getting a jump and running hard, but it does."

Shortstop Jean Segura was 44-for-57 on steals (77 percent) last season but is 14-for-22 (64 percent) this season.

Regarding Segura's lower success rate, Roenicke said: "I probably have to take a little more control of that."

Worth noting
• Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has hit .318 (7-for-22) in his career against Lohse with two RBIs.

• The Brewers reached the midway point in the season with Thursday night's win against the Rockies, moving within one game of 50 wins. Comments