MILWAUKEE (AP)—The Milwaukee Brewers found a simple way to snap their season-long eight-game losing streak. Walk around it.
“It was a grind for me and all of us,” Capuano said. “It’s extra rewarding when you win those games, when you go out there and you don’t have your best stuff.”
Capuano (6-4) wasn’t particularly sharp, allowing six hits and four walks but he excelled compared to Padres starter Clay Hensley (4-4), who issued walks to four of his first eight batters and finished with a career-high seven.
“In those situations, you try to let him dig as big a hole as you can let him,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “We’ve been on the other end of it enough the last week.”
Milwaukee’s Gabe Gross, starting in right field for Geoff Jenkins, hit his second home run in as many days in the eighth. Jenkins sat out with a concussion, a day after colliding with burly first baseman Prince Fielder.
Gross had been mired in a 6-for-45 slump and said he’s spent extra time hitting after games during the losing skid to tweak his swing.
“The biggest thing is when you get to struggling, just get back to basics,” Gross said.
Yost praised his seldom-used outfielder, whom the Brewers acquired from Toronto in the offseason as part of the Lyle Overbay deal.
“To his credit, it’s hard doing what he’s doing—trying to play one at-bat a night or four at-bats or five at-bats a week,” Yost said. “It’s tough to be sharp in those situations.”
Derrick Turnbow recorded his 16th save in 20 opportunities with a perfect ninth and a fastball that reached 99 mph. He had blown four of his last seven chances.
The Brewers took advantage of Hensley in the second inning with three runs, sparked by Fielder’s first career triple, a ball that caromed off the wall and left fielder Eric Young.
After a walk to Damian Miller, Gross’ infield single scored Fielder to tie it at 1.
Hensley then walked Brady Clark to load the bases and Capuano added an infield hit to bring home Miller.
“I didn’t exactly sting it, but I’ll take it,” Capuano said of his fifth hit and second RBI of the season.
Rickie Weeks grounded into a double play and a run scored to make it 3-1.
“The second inning was an ugly inning. That was the difference in the game,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “You are asking for trouble if you give them extra outs.”
Lee’s solo homer in the third put Milwaukee up 4-1 and came immediately after Padres center fielder Mike Cameron robbed Corey Koskie of a home run when he made a leaping catch at the wall in the deepest part of the park.
But Hensley, who struck out only two in his shortest outing of his career, was finally pulled with two outs after laboring in the fourth by giving up a single and two walks to load the bases. Reliever Brian Sweeney avoided damage by getting Koskie to line out.
“It’s pretty embarrassing,” Hensley said of throwing more balls (48) than strikes (39). “I couldn’t find the strike zone. My arm felt great. I just couldn’t find the location.”
Meanwhile, Capuano did just enough to get by after giving up an RBI single to Mike Piazza in the first, and the Padres had the tying run at the plate or onboard in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
The biggest threats were in the fifth, when Capuano allowed three singles to load the bases and Mike Cameron’s sacrifice fly cut Milwaukee’s lead to 4-2, and the sixth, when Capuano ended his night by striking out Josh Barfield with men on second and third with two outs. Capuano finished with six strikeouts.
“It just seemed like they were bound for a break,” Padres right fielder Brian Giles said.
Milwaukee’s Jeff Cirillo made his first career start at shortstop in place of Bill Hall. … Brewers pitcher Rick Helling struck out seven in 5 2-3 innings in an extended spring training start in Arizona. Helling will return to Milwaukee to be evaluated, then make at least two rehab starts. … Padres ace Jake Peavy will start on Tuesday. Peavy skipped his scheduled start Saturday in Pittsburgh because of right shoulder tendinitis. … Padres 1B Adrian Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 13 games.