PHOENIX (AP) — If the Milwaukee Brewers can get anywhere near the same type of starting pitching during the regular season that they are getting this spring, a second straight NL Central title would appear to be well within reach.
Left-hander Chris Narveson kept the momentum going on Thursday, pitching 3 2-3 scoreless innings in the Brewers’ 6-4 victory over the San Diego Padres.
In three starts, Narveson has given up just one earned run in 9 1-3 innings. As a group, Narveson, Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke and Randy Wolf have allowed four earned runs in 30 1-3 innings for a 1.18 ERA.
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Narveson didn’t exactly draw rave reviews from manager Ron Roenicke after walking three. But Roenicke wasn’t totally displeased, either.
“He got through it well,” Roenicke said. “His command was off. He was all over the place, but he also made some great pitches.”
Narveson has made 28 starts in each of the last two years, with a 23-17 record, including an 11-8 mark with a 4.48 ERA in 2011.
With right-hander Shaun Marcum shelved at least temporarily with shoulder inflammation, Narveson knows he and his fellow starters need to help pick up the slack.
“It’s good to be able to put zeroes up, execute your pitches,” said Narveson, who threw about 60 pitches. “You stay simple and then take it from there.
“I’ve had some great springs and some not as good. All you can worry about is your body and make sure that is working,” he said.
There was a scare before the game when new Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez was hit on his throwing shoulder by a ball during practice. He slowly walked into the visitors’ dugout along the third base line, where he was checked by two members of the training staff. Roenicke also came over to check on his welfare.
“We had a longer conversation during batting practice, and he said he was OK,” Roenicke said.
Ramirez came to the plate twice during the game and singled both times, raising his average to .250 (4 for 16). He also scored the Brewers’ first run in the fourth inning.
“It was good to see him hitting like that,” Roenicke said.
Ramirez has a career batting average of .284 with 315 home runs. He will be counted on to help offset the loss of first baseman Prince Fielder to free agency.
Francisco Rodriguez, expected to be Milwaukee’s primary setup man and occasional closer, pitched a scoreless fifth inning, hitting a batter, striking out one and walking one.
Roenicke said late-inning pitchers can be inconsistent during this time of year, particularly one with a power arm such as Rodriguez.
“Frankie can be wild, then turn around and throw some unbelievable pitches,” Roenicke said.
NOTES: San Diego starter Dustin Moseley had a solid outing, giving up a run on four hits in four innings. Padres OF Carlos Quentin was scratched from the lineup because of knee soreness. He is listed as day-to-day.