Padres 8, Brewers 6
SAN DIEGO (AP)—Rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff came up grand for the San Diego Padres on a night when closer Trevor Hoffman reported having a “cranky” right arm and right fielder Brian Giles appeared headed for the disabled list.
It was the second slam of Kouzmanoff’s career. His claim to fame is that he’s the only major leaguer to hit a grand slam on his first pitch, on Sept. 2 at Texas.
Kouzmanoff’s slam, to left-center on the first pitch from Dave Bush, gave the Padres a 7-0 lead with two outs in the fifth.
“You never know when you walk up there, the first pitch might be the pitch to hit, or the fourth pitch could be your pitch,” Kouzmanoff said. “That’s why it’s important to walk up there ready to go from the get-go.”
Adrian Gonzalez, on base with a single, pushed Kouzmanoff out of the dugout for a curtain call. Also on board for San Diego’s first grand slam of the season were Mike Cameron with an RBI single and Josh Bard on a two-out walk.
“Tonight, Kouzy kind of picked everybody up,” Maddux said.
The Padres needed Kouzmanoff’s homer, as well as Marcus Giles’ solo shot leading off the sixth, because Prince Fielder hit a solo homer in the Brewers’ three-run sixth, and J.J. Hardy had a two-run shot in the three-run seventh. Fielder and Hardy are tied for the NL lead with 15 homers apiece.
The Brewers have lost three straight and nine of 12.
Milwaukee’s Geoff Jenkins was ejected by home plate umpire Jerry Layne in the seventh for arguing after taking a called third strike. Manager Ned Yost came out to argue and was tossed, too.
Third baseman Ryan Braun made his big league debut for the Brewers, and his first hit, a double to the left-center gap in the seventh inning, scored Tony Gwynn Jr., who was playing for the first time as a big leaguer in his hometown.
With his Hall of Fame-elect father watching, Gwynn Jr. entered the game during a double-switch in the bottom of the sixth, then drew a leadoff walk in the seventh off reliever Doug Brocail. Gwynn struck out in the eighth.
“It was not nearly as nerve-racking as last year in Arizona,” Gwynn said, referring to his first major league at-bat last July 15. “It’s nice to get out there and get an at-bat in front of the hometown.”
Kouzmanoff, obtained from Cleveland in the offseason for popular second baseman Josh Barfield, slumped badly starting this season. He hit .113 the first month and was down to .108 on May 10.
He’s put that rough start in the past with an eight-game hitting streak, during which he’s gone 13-for-25 (.520), with three homers, four doubles and 12 RBIs. His slam was his third homer in four games.
Kouzmanoff’s average is up to .217.
Maddux (4-3) has won four straight at home since losing the home opener against Colorado on April 6. He allowed three runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out two and walked one.
Maddux was chased by four straight hits in the sixth, starting with Fielder’s solo shot to center. Jenkins followed with a double to center, Bill Hall had an infield single and Damian Miller hit an RBI single to right, ending Maddux’s night.
Things didn’t seem right when Scott Linebrink, rather than Hoffman, trotted out to pitch the ninth. Hoffman said his arm was sore after pitching in three of the previous four games.
“It’s kind of day-to-day,” said Hoffman, baseball’s all-time saves leader with 495. “I’m not going to concern myself too much with it other than the fact of it coming on the heels of three out of four and it’s a little cranky.
The 39-year-old Hoffman said it wasn’t necessarily a big deal.
“When you get to this age, you never really know where the pain’s coming from,” he said. “I’m not going to make light of anything. I really don’t want to blow it up bigger than it’s a night off.
“If it isn’t a save situation, it isn’t talked about.”
Linebrink pitched the ninth for his first save in two chances.
Brian Giles, meanwhile, is expected to be put on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday with a bone bruise in his right knee. The Padres are expected to recall Paul McAnulty to replace Giles.
Bush (3-5) gave up seven runs and nine hits in five innings, struck out four and walked three.
Braun said he was “a little excited” the first few innings.
“Maybe I was trying to do too much,” he said. “After that, I settled down my last few at-bats. I felt very comfortable. I felt like I belonged here.”
Braun made his debut after being called up Thursday night to try to help jump-start the offense. The 23-year-old Braun, a first-round draft pick of the Brewers out of Miami in 2005, was hitting .342 with 10 homers and 22 RBIs in 34 games with Triple-A Nashville. …