MILWAUKEE (AP) — Brewers manager Ron Roenicke played 10 rookies Tuesday night. One of them made quite a splash.
Martin Maldonado hit a grand slam to lead Milwaukee to a 4-3 victory over the San Diego Padres.
“I thought we had a Nashville Sounds game,” Maldonado said with a big smile, referring to the Brewers’ Triple-A team in the Pacific Coast League.
Maldonado connected against Anthony Bass (2-8) in the third inning for his first career slam and eighth home run of the year. The backup catcher, whose playing time decreased in August when starter Jonathan Lucroy returned from a broken bone in his hand, was in a 1-for-16 slump when he delivered.
Maldonado said it was difficult to hit for power when not playing much.
“It is, especially when you only get to play once a week,” he said. “It’s hard, but you have to keep doing your thing and working hard.”
Jim Henderson (1-2) pitched a perfect seventh for his first major league win. The right-hander pitched in 313 minor league games over 10 seasons before having his contract selected by the Brewers from Nashville on July 26 and making his big league debut that day.
Milwaukee starter Tyler Thornburg did not pitch the five innings needed to qualify for a win, and official scorer Tim O’Driscoll credited it to Henderson, who was pitching in his 35th career game.
Henderson did not realize he was credited with the win until talking to reporters after the game, and said he didn’t save any memento.
“It was on the board there, and I thought it was false,” he said.
John Axford worked the ninth for his 35th save in 44 chances, getting Logan Forsythe to ground out with a runner on third to end it.
“Got into trouble quick, but luckily got out of it,” Axford said.
The Brewers started Thornburg and fellow rookies Norichika Aoki, Logan Schafer, Maldonado, Taylor Green, Jean Segura, Jeff Bianchi and Maldonado. Rookie Eric Farris pinch-hit and rookies Brandon Kintzler and Henderson pitched in relief.
“It’s great when you can rest some guys that you need to rest,” Roenicke said.
The Padres started Bass, who has been pitching in relief since returning from a shoulder injury in early September. He was limited to 60 pitches, and allowed only one hit and one walk in the first two innings, but ran into trouble as his pitch count climbed in the third.
With one out in a scoreless game, Aoki singled and stole second. Schafer struck out but Bass then issued consecutive walks to Ryan Braun and Travis Ishikawa.
Pitching coach Darren Balsley visited the mound, but Bass stayed in the game and Maldonado hit the right-hander’s 56th pitch into the left-field bleachers to give Milwaukee a 4-0 lead.
“Physically, I felt fine,” Bass said. “It’s one of those things where you have to execute a pitch in those situations and I didn’t.”
Will Venable’s RBI single scored Chase Headley in the fourth to pull San Diego to 4-1.
The Padres scored twice off reliever Manny Parra in the sixth to make it 4-3. Headley singled, moved to second on Yonder Alonso’s walk and scored on pitch-hitter Jesus Guzman’s single. Venable was hit by a pitch to load the bases, chasing Parra.
Pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal’s infield single off Kameron Loe scored Guzman to make it 4-3. Loe struck out pinch-hitter Carlos Quentin to leave the bases loaded.
The Brewers loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but reliever Brad Boxberger got Schafer to pop out and Braun to strike out to end the threat.
NOTES: The Brewers scratched RHP Yovani Gallardo for Wednesday’s start, opting to rest their ace instead of having him pitch in a meaningless game. Josh Stinson will start instead. … Headley was selected NL player of the month for September. He won the award in August, too. … Roenicke said before the game that the entire coaching staff would return in 2013. … Roenicke said most of the starting position players likely would play in the season finale Wednesday.