WASHINGTON (AP)—It was quite a night for Carlos Villanueva: first major league win, first major league hit, first major league RBI.
Coming on in relief after Tomo Ohka hurt himself legging out an infield hit, Villanueva retired his first 16 batters. Geoff Jenkins backed him by homering twice, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Washington Nationals 5-2 Friday night.
“First everything. There’s no words to describe it—it was pretty special,” said Villanueva (1-1), who began the season at Double-A Huntsville. “It’s definitely a chance to show what I’ve got, to help the team right now and finish strong. That’s just how I see this opportunity.”
He might get more opportunities: Ohka’s strained right hamstring could sideline him for the season, and Villanueva probably would slide into his spot in the rotation.
“I’m going to need a word to describe—outside of ‘awesome,’ ‘spectacular’ and ‘tremendous’—Villanueva. I’m going to have to break out my thesaurus,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.
Villanueva came on after Ohka hurt himself while beating out second baseman Jose Vidro’s throw for a single in the top half of the third inning.
“I’m surprised that he ran that hard,” Vidro said.
Ohka was removed for a pinch runner, and Villanueva entered in the bottom of the third. He was perfect for 5 1-3 innings, until Nook Logan reached on rookie first baseman Prince Fielder’s fielding error with one out in the eighth—the ball went right through his legs.
Villanueva threw six hitless innings, until Felipe Lopez’s triple leading off the ninth. Ryan Zimmerman followed with an RBI single, and that was it for Villanueva, who was recalled Monday from Triple-A Nashville for his third stint with the Brewers. He made his major league debut May 23. His first major league hit was an RBI single in the fourth off Ramon Ortiz (10-14).
“This time of year you’re going to see a lot of people that you have not seen before,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. “He may be a little bit more effective against you because you haven’t seen him, you don’t know exactly when he throws certain pitches in certain counts, but he shouldn’t shut you down for eight innings, seven innings, whatever.”
Alfonso Soriano remained stuck on 39 steals in his attempt to become only the fourth player in major league history with 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in a season.
“My teammates, my friends, my family … everybody’s waiting to see me get to 40 stolen bases,” Soriano said. “Sooner or later, I know it’s going to come.”
He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, although he did score after walking in the first. Soriano moved to second on Ohka’s errant pickoff attempt, then reached third on Lopez’s bunt single, and came home when Zimmerman grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
The ninth multihomer game of Jenkins’ career, and first this season, raised his 2006 total to 14 home runs. He’s 14-for-27 (.519) with four homers and eight RBIs this month.
Both of his drives Friday came off Ortiz, who took a no-hit bid into the ninth inning of his previous home start, against St. Louis on Sept. 4. This time, he lasted five innings, allowing five runs and eight hits, and he’s 1-5 with an 8.02 ERA over his past seven starts.
In the second, Fielder led off with a double and, one out later, Jenkins drove a 1-0 pitch to right for his 13th homer and a 2-1 lead. Jenkins added a solo shot in the fourth.
“If you leave the ball a little outside, he can extend those arms,” Vidro said. “That’s what happens when you miss your pitches.”
Ohka allowed one run on three hits in his two innings. … Washington has lost six of its last eight games. … Brewers 3B David Bell was scratched from the lineup with a migraine. Jeff Cirillo replaced him. … Villanueva barely beat Logan to first base on a groundout in the fifth, then landed on top of him as they got tangled up near the bag. … Nationals relievers threw four perfect innings.