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Brewers drop to 2-9 with loss to Pirates as Lohse drops third consecutive start

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PITTSBURGH — Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke is stressing patience while the losses pile up for the Brewers.

Ryan Braun had two hits in his first career game in the leadoff spot, but Milwaukee was shut down by Jeff Locke in a 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night.

The Brewers have dropped four in a row and are off to their worst start since they also lost nine of their first 11 games in 2002.

"We're trying to not worry about what's gone on in the past," Roenicke said. "I think if we stay focused that way we're going to get through this easier."

Starling Marte homered for the second straight game and drove in a career-high five runs as Pittsburgh improved to 4-1 against Milwaukee this year. The Pirates are 1-5 against everyone else.

Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse (0-3) was tagged for six runs and six hits in six innings. He has lost his first three starts of a season for the first time in his 15-year big league career.

"When you watch his bullpens he can do anything he wants to do," Roenicke said. "In games, he hasn't been the same."

Lohse thinks he might be trying too hard.

"I've fought in my career not doing too much and that might be the case now," Lohse said. "I'm just trying to do too much instead of making one pitch at a time.

PHOTO: Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte drives in two runs with a single off Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Kyle Lohse during the first inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, April 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte drives in two runs with a single off Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Kyle Lohse during the first inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, April 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

"It's frustrating because we have some good pieces in here. We just haven't put it together."

Jean Segura also had two of the Brewers' five hits. Jonathan Lucroy hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning, and Khris Davis singled in a run in the ninth.

Marte hit a two-run single in Pittsburgh's three-run first. He also belted a three-run drive to left in the fifth that made it 6-1.

In the first two games of the series, Marte has gone 4 for 8 with seven RBIs. He was 0 for 11 with six strikeouts in his previous three games.

Marte got Tuesday off and had a long conversation with manager Clint Hurdle. The left fielder came back the next night and went 0 for 3 in a loss to Detroit, but Hurdle was encouraged that Marte saw 14 pitches in three plate appearances and felt he was ready for a breakout.

"I try to make sure these guys know where they stand and know what I expect," Hurdle said. "It's never an average or a home run or an RBI that I'm looking for. It's the intangibles, and he's responded well."

Locke (2-0) tied a career high by pitching eight innings while beating the Brewers for the second time in eight days. He allowed one run and four hits while striking six with no walks.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Pirates: RHP Charlie Morton (right hip surgery) threw 55 pitches in a simulated game Saturday at extended spring training camp in Bradenton, Florida. He was supposed to pitch in a game against Yankees minor leaguers at Tampa, but it was called off.

UP NEXT

Milwaukee's Matt Garza (1-1) faces Gerrit Cole (1-0) on Sunday in the finale of the three-game series. Garza is 2-2 with a 3.92 ERA against Pittsburgh in eight career starts. Cole has won his last five decisions, dating to Sept. 1, and is 1-2 with a 3.27 ERA against the Brewers in five career starts.

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