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It was almost three weeks ago that Milwaukee Brewers manager Ken Macha - not the guy you go to if you want your feelings spared - made an honest assessment of Manny Parra.

"The stuff he has is not translating into results," Macha said of the lone left-hander in his rotation.

He was, of course, talking about desired results, which weren't what Parra had been producing at the time.

But that was before Parra went out and pitched five innings and allowed one earned run against the Houston Astros a day later.

He still took the tough-luck loss in that game to drop to 0-4, but after Macha's statement, Parra shifted his game into the next gear, going 12 innings and allowing three runs in his next two outings, both quality starts.

Parra continued his progression Tuesday night against the flailing Florida Marlins, losers of 15 of their last 21 games. He got his third consecutive quality start and second consecutive victory in the Brewers' 6-3 triumph at Miller Park.

Parra (2-4) pitched six innings, allowed three runs on six hits, walked two and struck out eight, tying a season high.

Through the first two innings, though, that line was looking ripe for a beating and Parra was looking as if he might be regressing.

He allowed a leadoff single to Emilio Bonifacio, hit Hanley Ramirez with a pitch and gave up a run-scoring single to Dan Uggla in the first.

Parra then walked Brett Carroll and allowed consecutive singles to Bonifacio and Jeremy Hermida that plated two more runs in the second. Luckily for Parra, who was on the ropes, Jorge Cantu rolled over on a first-pitch changeup on the black and stranded two runners.

Even with that escape job, Parra had allowed three runs on five hits, a walk and a hit batter through two innings.

He had also thrown 44 pitches.

"It was the tale of two cities there," Macha said. "The first two innings were a little bit rough, 22 pitches each inning."

It didn't look as if the third would start any better after Parra walked Uggla to start it. After striking out Ronny Paulino, Parra made a mistake with a fastball over the middle and Cody Ross ripped it, but directly at third baseman Bill Hall, who started a 5-4-3 double play.

If that ball was hit a few feet to either side of Hall, who knows how the rest of the night might have turned out for Parra?

"That's my favorite pitch: One pitch, two outs," Macha said. "The guy hit the ball pretty hard right at Billy. Getting out of that inning was huge."

From there, Parra cruised.

He struck out the side in the fourth and worked around a double by Ramirez in the fifth before finishing with a 1-2-3 sixth inning that including strikeouts of the last two batters.

Seven of his final 12 outs were via strikeout and he allowed just one hit in the final four frames.

"He was outstanding after the first two innings," Macha said.

Before the game, Macha said Parra was starting to control his delivery, becoming more consistent in repeating it and thus causing him to overthrow less. He's spotting a low-90s fastball, snapping off a sharp curve and learning to dot the strike zone with an evolving changeup.

That metamorphosis, while still in progress, is making Parra a complete pitcher.

"He's starting to learn himself and what type of effort level he needs out there on the mound in order to throw quality strikes," Macha said. "I think he feels good about himself.

"He has all the equipment to be a good starting pitcher."

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 13, 2009

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