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WAS@MIL: Roenicke on struggling offense

MILWAUKEE -- Going up against the Nationals' Jordan Zimmerman, Randy Wolf knew there was little room for error on Saturday night. And for most of the game, Wolf was able to avoid making many mistakes that might hurt him.

But when they did come, Washington made sure to capitalize, as Wolf surrendered three home runs on the way to a 4-1 loss at Miller Park.

In seven innings of work, Wolf gave up a total of nine hits while allowing multiple base runners in just one inning. However, after no-hitting the Nationals through the first three innings, Wolf struggled through the fourth, when Corey Brown -- taking the place of a sick Bryce Harper -- led off the inning with a home run. Wolf proceeded to surrender five more hits in the inning, including a two-run blast by Tyler Moore.

"I had that rough fourth inning and made a couple mistakes," Wolf said. "Other than that, I felt I threw the ball a lot better. You still give up four runs, it's not a great outing. But I thought for the most part I threw strikes, and I was aggressive and made some pitches when I needed to and got out of some jams.

"But the long ball hurt me."

Wolf surrendered one more solo shot in the fifth, as all four Washington runs came on homers.

Saturday marked the first game Wolf pitched since his usual battery mate, George Kottaras, was designated for assignment on Thursday. In three years, Wolf and Kottaras had played 71 games together, but on Saturday, it was rookie Martin Maldonado behind the plate.

Although a lot was made about Wolf throwing to a new catcher before the game, he said that had nothing to do with the miscues he made against the Nationals.

"Maldy's awesome," Wolf said. "He's been talking to me for a while, just about what I like to do, what signs I like to use and today was great. He did a great job, and he's a smart catcher. He really does his homework."

On the other side of the mound, Zimmermann delivered the performance Wolf was afraid he might face, allowing just one run on five hits in six innings of work. And to top it off, the 26-year-old Auburndale, Wis., native did so in front of a host of family and friends.

Zimmermann, who played his college ball at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, said he left 45 tickets at Miller Park for people to come see him. His family started tailgating at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon, and Zimmermann made sure to put on a show in front of his loved ones.

"It was definitely awesome," said Zimmermann, who added that he noticed a lot of red shirts and jerseys while he was pitching. "[It's] a dream come true to pitch in front of my family and friends and everyone who came out to watch. I'm just glad I gave them a good showing."

Wolf described his counterpart as "probably the most underrated pitcher in baseball" after Saturday's game, which moved Zimmermann to 8-6 on the year. The only run he gave up came on a Rickie Weeks single that drove in Aramis Ramirez in the fourth inning, and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he walked away impressed.

"We didn't have too many opportunities," Roenicke said. "We had a couple chances where maybe if we get a home run it's going to help. But we didn't have too many chances. [Zimmermann's] really good."

Weeks proved to be one of the lone bright spots for Milwaukee, going 2-for-3 in the game and also reaching base when he was hit by a Drew Storen pitch. Struggling for much of the season, Weeks is 9-for-14 (.643) in his last four games, moving his batting average to .209, which is the highest it's been since April.

With Saturday marking the Brewers' eighth loss in nine games to drop them to 45-55 on the year, Weeks described Milwaukee's season as frustrating.

"But at the same time, we're all professionals," Weeks said. "We're still going to come in and work hard. Sometimes, it's the way the ball bounces. At the same time, I think we're going to come after it tomorrow and play."

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