Brewers impressed by Lopez's strong debut

Rookie right-hander struck out seven to win first Major League start

Brewers impressed by Lopez's strong debut

SAN DIEGO -- They don't do clubhouse beer showers in the Brewers' clubhouse these days, so Jorge Lopez's teammates instead celebrated of Tuesday's 4-3 victory over the Padres at Petco Park and Lopez's winning Major League debut with a toxic cocktail of ketchup and milk.

"I hope I don't still smell of it," Lopez said after emerging from the showers.

Nope, he smelled like a winner. Sporting a fastball that touched 96 mph during a 1-2-3 opening inning that featured a pair of strikeouts, Lopez pitched through the fifth and was rewarded when Brewers shortstop Jean Segura hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the sixth.

Lopez, the 12th player this season to make his Major League debut for the Brewers, was the second (with Taylor Jungmann) to win his first big league start. He allowed three earned runs on eight hits in five innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts.

"It's gonna work," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It's a great fastball."

He was comfortable predicting Major League success for Lopez after just one outing?

"I think you have a feel for this guy, yeah," Counsell said.

Lopez also has a plus curveball, but he lacked feel for that pitch on Tuesday. When Corey Spangenberg snapped Lopez's streak of five consecutive batters retired to start the game, it was a single off a curveball. When Matt Kemp put the Padres on the board in the second inning with another single, it was off another curveball.

The Padres tacked on two more runs on three hits plus a walk in the fourth inning for a 3-2 lead, but Segura answered in the sixth with a corkscrew swing that produced a two-run home run down the left-field line.

"It was amazing," Lopez said. "That's what I like. I like to win games, to compete. I was happy. It was amazing for me to take that win."

It was preserved by a trio of relievers, starting with Double-A teammate Yhonathan Barrios. He pitched a scoreless sixth inning, followed by Jeremy Jeffress for two scoreless innings on just 18 pitches, then Francisco Rodriguez for a 1-2-3 ninth inning and his 38th save. Both Jeffress and Rodriguez said they were impressed by Lopez.

"He attacked hitters like he wasn't scared," Jeffress said. "You really need that when you're coming from Double-A to make your debut."

"I liked what I saw," Rodriguez said. "He has a bright future ahead of him. Good arm action. Something that I noticed was that he wasn't afraid when he got behind in the count to throw the off-speed. The changeup, curveball. That's pretty mature for a guy who just pitched Double-A."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.