Brewers score once, but it's enough to edge Padres

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[May 14, 2016]  MILWAUKEE -- On one side, there was a 31-year-old journeyman starter who up until last fall, had been out of affiliated baseball since 2009. On the other, a 28-year-old who had been called up from Triple-A earlier in the day and hadn't started a big league game since 2014.

Brewers right fielder Domingo Santana (16) scores a run during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

On the surface, a matchup like that sounds like the perfect recipe for a slugfest but if baseball teaches anything, it's to expect the unexpected.

So it shouldn't come as too much of a shock, then, that in just his third major league start, Junior Guerra spun six shutout innings while striking out four to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 1-0 victory over Christian Friedrich and the San Diego Padres Friday night at Miller Park.

Milwaukee claimed Guerra off waivers from the White Sox last October -- the first move by then-new general manager David Stearns. He was hardly lighting up the Pacific Coast League (0-2, 4.63 ERA) when the Brewers brought him up to the big leagues May 3, but with the rotation in shambles, he was the best available option.

And since then, he's been a stabilizing presence for a starting unit that has been nothing short of a disaster for much of the season.

He's gone six innings in each of his first three starts and hasn't walked more than two batters in any of those contests -- all three of them Brewers victories.

"He's certainly done his job," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It's not his job to stabilize the rotation but he's certainly done his job and he's done it well."

He was challenged only once Friday, in the first inning when leadoff batter Jon Jay reached on an error by first baseman Chris Carter and advanced to second on a stolen base. Guerra issued a two-out walk to Brett Wallace then got out of the jam when Melvin Upton, Jr. grounded out to third.

Only one more Padres batter would get into scoring position against Guerra -- Adam Rosales, who doubled in the fifth -- the rest of the way.

"He had some velo, had the slider that we chased a fair amount," Padres manager Andy Green said.

Carter put Milwaukee on the board in the bottom of the first inning, driving in Domingo Santana with a sac fly. But Friedrich avoided any further damage when Jonathan Villar was caught trying to tag up on the play, ending the inning.

"It could have been a lot worse," Friedrich said.

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The third inning could have been even worse than that. Guerra opened the inning with a base hit -- his first in the majors -- and Santana followed with his second hit of the game. Both runners moved up on Jonathan Villars sacrifice bunt and Jonathan Lucroy loaded the bases on a fielder's choice that caught Guerra at third.

That brought up Carter, who came into the game hitless in his last 17 at-bats. He worked Friedrich even but chased a curveball, ending the inning.

It was that kind of night for Friedrich, who allowed only four hits but walked six batters while striking out four.

"He gave us a really good effort," Green said. "First inning had a couple walks there. He had a little trouble settling in. I thought he did a lot better when he started spinning the baseball more. ... He gave us six strong innings today. He stepped up, did a great job and gave us everything we needed to win a baseball game. We just didn't get it done offensively."

NOTES: Milwaukee got good news on the injury front as LHP Will Smith threw off a mound for the first time since tearing the LCL in his right knee during spring training. ... RHP Jhan Marinez arrived in Milwaukee and was available out of the bullpen Friday, a day after the Brewers acquired him from Tampa Bay in exchange for cash considerations. ... RHP Christian Friedrich was recalled from Triple-A El Paso and started Friday for the Padres, who placed RHP Andrew Cashner on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right hamstring. Casher was originally slated to start Saturday against the Brewers. Manager Andy Green did not announce a replacement. ... San Diego also designated Rule V INF Jabari Blash for assignment. That cleared the way for C Hector Sanchez to join the 40-man and active rosters after he was acquired from the White Sox earlier in the week.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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