MILWAUKEE — As Jordan Lyles was setting batters down he also knew his pitch total was getting up there.
Lyles was pulled after pitching six no-hit innings and Milwaukee reliever Devin Williams gave up a bloop single with two outs in the seventh as the Brewers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-1 on Friday night at Miller Park.
"Great effort from Jordan," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He pitched really, really well."
Lyles (8-8) was taken out after throwing 99 pitches. He struck out five and allowed just two walks, both to Christian Walker. He improved to 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA in two home outings. Lyles is 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts since being reacquired by the Brewers ahead of last month's trade deadline.
“I think it’s a different conversation if it was through seven innings. I would have gone back out there,” Lyles said. “With 100 pitches, I’m not going to put another 30-40 pitches on my arm.”
Williams relieved and retired his first two batters before Walker looped a single into shallow center field.
Juan Nieves remains the only Brewers pitcher to throw a no-hitter, against Baltimore in a 7-0 victory on April 15, 1987.
The Brewers are 3½ games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central and three behind Chicago for the second NL wild card spot.
Last year, Lyles was five outs away from being the first San Diego Padres pitcher to throw a no-hitter when the Rockies’ Trevor Story singled.
Lyles was traded to Milwaukee during the 2018 season and later signed with Pittsburgh. He was traded back to the Brewers in late July.
Four Milwaukee pitchers combined on a two-hitter. Eric Thames and Keston Hiura homered for the Brewers.
Milwaukee staked Lyles to an early lead, taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning behind a two-run double from Mike Moustakas and an RBI single from Ryan Braun. Thames homered in the third and Hiura hit his 15th in the fifth. Lyles added an RBI single.
All six runs were charged to Arizona starter Merrill Kelly (9-13), who gave up eight hits with four walks and five strikeouts over 4⅓ innings.
Kelly looked little like the pitcher who held Milwaukee to a run over seven innings with seven strikeouts last month in Arizona.
"I thought our hitters had a good night and made him work," Counsell said. "There were 35 pitches on the board after the first inning and he was at 50 after the second. When you make a guy do that, there's a better chance of him making mistakes when you get guys on base."
Ketel Marte broke up Milwaukee’s shutout bid with an RBI single in the ninth off Jeremy Jeffress.
From the infirmary
Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray felt “fantastic” after throwing a bullpen session and could return to the rotation Sunday for the series finale at Milwaukee, manager Torey Lovullo said.
“Robbie threw the ball extremely well,” Lovullo said. “I went down there and watched and the grunts got louder and more aggressive as the bullpen went deeper and deeper. Everything is trending toward a Sunday start but we’re not going to make that official until we get through this day with him and see how he feels tomorrow.”
Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson has been hitting 94 mph with Class AAA San Antonio as he works his way back from elbow soreness that’s left him on the injured list since June 26.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Nelson has been “pitching well” and is a candidate to rejoin the team when rosters expand next month.
Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson (5-3, 4.54 ERA) faces his former team Saturday night as the teams continue their three-game series.
Anderson allowed a career-high 10 runs his last time out but is 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA in five career starts against Arizona, which sends right-hander Zac Gallen (2-3, 2.45) to the mound.