MILWAUKEE -- Well-traveled Brewers right-hander Junior Guerra pitched six scoreless innings for his second victory in as many starts at Miller Park, a 1-0 win over the Padres on Friday.
Chris Carter's sacrifice fly in the first inning gave the Brewers the run they needed for the 71st 1-0 win in franchise history, including the 10th at Miller Park, as well as the team's first shutout victory this season. It also represented further validation for the 31-year-old Guerra, who was out of affiliated baseball for six years before a return with the White Sox last season. He is 2-0 with a 4.00 ERA after three Brewers starts.
"If this was meant to be," Guerra said, "you've got to take advantage of it now."
Guerra engaged in an unlikely pitchers' duel with Christian Friedrich, a left-hander called up from Triple-A El Paso to start for San Diego, who delivered six innings on a career-high 116 pitches. Friedrich allowed one run on four hits and six walks (one of which was intentional) while working in traffic all night. The Brewers put the leadoff man on base in four of Friedrich's six innings, and the first two batters aboard in three frames -- the first, the third and the fifth. But those opportunities produced only the one run.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Streak-snapper: Carter's sacrifice fly in the first inning snapped a scoreless streak for San Diego pitchers that spanned 23 innings, but the Brewers were hoping for more. They loaded the bases with one out for Carter, who hit a medium fly ball to center field that scored Domingo Santana from third while Padres first baseman Brett Wallace cut off the throw home and relayed to third, just in time to retire Villar. The Brewers led, 1-0, but their potentially big inning was abruptly over. Carter finished 0-for-3 and is hitless in his last 20 at-bats.
"We did a good job getting on base tonight, but we're missing the extra-base hits that kind of produce the runs," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, whose club went 28 innings without an extra-base hit between Aaron Hill's double in the sixth inning on Tuesday and Hill's double in the eighth inning on Friday. "You're going to have stretches like that, and we've faced some good pitching during this run. I'm confident in our offense."
Escaping trouble: Just when it appeared as if the game was slipping away, Friedrich retired two of Milwaukee's top run producers with the bases loaded in the third inning. Singles by Guerra and Santana gave the Brewers two on with nobody out. After a sacrifice bunt by Villar, the Padres elected to intentionally walk Ryan Braun to load the bases. Friedrich then got Jonathan Lucroy to hit into a fielder's choice, with Guerra retired at the plate. The left-hander ended the threat by striking out Carter on a 2-2 curveball.
"He gave us six strong innings and battled hard," Padres manager Andy Green said. "We ran his pitch count way up. With a bullpen day tomorrow, sometimes you have to push your starter a little harder than you care to, but he stepped up and gave us everything we needed to win a baseball game. We just didn't get it done offensively." More >
Jeffress escapes jam: Villar's bobble on a routine ground ball leading off the ninth inning came at a terrible time for Jeffress, but Jeffress recovered by inducing another to almost the same spot. This time Villar fielded the ball cleanly for a 6-4-3 double play, and Jeffress then struck out Wallace to make it 9-for-9 in saves. Jeffress has yet to be charged with a run in a save opportunity.
"What went through my mind was, 'Another [ground ball] is about to come at you again,'" Jeffress said. "I'm about to sink it down and in, get that same ground ball and turn a double play." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Guerra's single in the third inning was his first hit in the Majors and first anywhere in a decade, according to Baseball-Reference.com. A former catcher who converted to pitching, Guerra had three hits at Class A Rome in 2006, then went hitless while pitching all over the world over ensuing seasons.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Brewers challenged in the seventh inning after Villar was called out trying to steal second base. After a review of two minutes and four seconds, the call stood, as there was not enough evidence to overturn it.
MOMENT OF SILENCE
The Brewers and Padres observed a moment of silence prior to Friday's game for Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Charles H. Keating IV, who was killed in action earlier this month in Iraq. The recognition came as thousands of mourners lined the streets of Coronado Island, just across San Diego Bay from the Padres' Petco Park, for Keating's funeral procession.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres: With Andrew Cashner placed on the disabled list on Friday, the Padres are going to use members of their bullpen to cover Saturday's 4:10 p.m. PT game in Milwaukee. Rule 5 pick Luis Perdomo will make his first Major League start.
Brewers: Opponents are hitting .372 off Wily Peralta entering the right-hander's eighth start of the season, beginning at 6:10 p.m. CT. Peralta surrendered 10 hits in his most recent outing, at Miami, but it went in the books as a quality start because he surrendered only two runs in six innings.