Baker cooks up victory in Milwaukee

Baker cooks up victory in Milwaukee

Baker cooks up victory in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE -- When Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley held his usual pregame meeting between his starting pitcher and catcher on Saturday at Miller Park, he had one extra person in the room.

Joining Balsley, starter Andrew Cashner -- making just the second start of his career -- and catcher John Baker was long reliever Ross Ohlendorf. Although Cashner got the start in Saturday's 5-2 win over the Brewers, manager Bud Black knew Ohlendorf would be key to his club's success.

"There's no doubt that Ross knew he was going to be the first guy in and the old traditional piggy back, as you call it," Black said. "And there's no doubt he pitched extremely well. Obviously, he gave us exactly what we hoped for -- length and performance both."

With Cashner making his first start since April 5, 2011, in the place of the injured Eric Stults, Black knew he was likely to get no more than four innings out of the right-hander. As it turned out, Cashner lasted 2 1/3 innings, allowing two hits, two walks and one earned run on 47 pitches. He also struck out five batters.

"I think, all-in-all, he threw the ball well," Black said. "There were some pitches he would like to have back, but as far as how he looked, he looked fine."

While Cashner did what was expected of him, it was Ohlendorf who stole the show for the Padres (20-40) in the win.

After coming on in a tie game in the third and retiring Brewers Nos. 3 and No. 4 hitters Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez, the right-hander conceded a run on a single by catcher Martin Maldonado that put Milwaukee ahead, 2-1, in the fourth inning.

But then Ohlendorf settled in and retired 10 of the next 12 batters he faced.

Meanwhile, the Padres' bats slowly, but surely, did their damage. Right fielder Will Venable -- in his first game back since straining his right oblique Sunday -- doubled in the top of the fifth, scoring catcher John Baker and tying the game at 2.

The next inning, after Brewers starter Mike Fiers induced a groundout from former Brewer Mark Kotsay, the Friars racked up four straight singles. The last of which -- hit by Baker -- scored third baseman Chase Headley and first baseman Yonder Alonso to give the Padres a 4-2 lead.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Fiers was looking to hit the corners against the Padres, but left too many balls over the plate.

"And they did a nice job of battling, too," Roenicke said of the Padres batters. "It's not like they crushed the ball off him, but they did a nice job of battling, putting the ball in play and getting a lot of hits."

San Diego made it three consecutive innings with a run scored in the seventh, when Alonso's second single of the day scored Kotsay, who doubled two at-bats earlier. That made the score 5-2 in favor of the Padres and was all the support the bullpen needed.

Ohlendorf, who ended up throwing 20 more pitches than Cashner (67), went 4 1/3 innings and surrendered one run on five hits. He gave way to Luke Gregerson in the seventh after surrendering back-to-back hits to Braun and Ramirez. Gregerson then finished the inning and combined with Joe Thatcher and Dale Thayer to throw a scoreless eighth, before Huston Street came on to pick up his fifth save of the season in the ninth.

In all, five Padres pitchers combined to throw 5 2/3 straight scoreless innings to get the win.

"The bullpen picked us up big today," Cashner said.

Cashner will now be optioned to Double-A San Antonio on Sunday to build his endurance and work on what he needs to do to be a regular starter, Black said. Black added that Cashner will make a start in the middle of the week. Reliever Brad Boxberger will be called up from Triple-A Tucson.

But Saturday was about what Cashner and the Padres' bullpen were able to accomplish against the Brewers. Ohlendorf, who picked up the win in just his second game of the season for the Padres, said he was happy to be able to be a part of such a team effort.

"To be able to get a win like that was awesome," he said. "Our offense did a great job and the defense did behind me, too."

Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.