Brewers 5, Padres 2
Mark Kotsay drove a flyball to deep right field and wasn't at all surprised that he had to settle for a double that brought in the tying run rather than a three-run home run.
Kotsay had three hits and drove in two runs, and Yovani Gallardo struck out nine to win his third straight start as the Milwaukee Brewers, the NL's worst road team, won 5-2 Wednesday night over the San Diego Padres.
Even with the win, the Brewers are only 8-16 on the road. The Padres dropped to 7-15 at Petco Park, the NL's worst home mark.
Runs have been tough on the road for the Brewers, who nonetheless seemed to be at home at the Padres' spacious downtown ballpark.
''Hitting is contagious and once you usually get that first one, then things kind of fall in place,'' Kotsay said. ''Fortunately we had some hits with runners in scoring position and it felt good to get that going tonight.''
Kotsay, who was with the Padres from 2001-03, had an RBI single in the fourth and an RBI double in the sixth. Corey Hart also had three hits.
Although Ryan Ludwick hit a two-run homer in the fourth, the Padres settled back into their low-scoring ways at Petco Park. This was their first game back after scoring at least six runs six times while going 4-4 on a trip through Milwaukee, Colorado and Arizona.
Gallardo (5-2) held San Diego to two runs and five hits in six innings while walking three. John Axford pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances. He allowed two singles with one out before striking out Chase Headley and Brad Hawpe to end it.
Ludwick's shot off Gallardo gave the Padres a 2-1 lead in the fourth. His eighth, it hit off the front of the lower balcony on the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left-field corner. Hawpe was aboard on a leadoff single.
The Brewers jumped ahead 3-2 in the sixth when five straight batters reached with one out. With runners on first and second, Kotsay hit a drive off the out-of-town scoreboard on the right field wall for an RBI double that tied the game. Yunisky Betancourt was intentionally walked to load the bases, and starter Dustin Moseley (1-6) made way for Ernesto Frieri. Frieri's first pitch grazed Jonathan Lucroy's jersey, bringing in the go-ahead run. Frieri struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
Kotsay didn't allow himself to think how far his drive might have been at Miller Park.
''Not at all. I know that I was much more happier at Qualcomm in a Padres uniform than I have been at Petco, as well as a lot of former teammates that I've played with,'' Kotsay said, referring to the Padres' former home.
''When it left the bat I thought it had a chance but knowing this park, it plays so big that I was running full speed,'' he said.
Milwaukee added two more in the seventh, on Ryan Braun's RBI double and Prince Fielder's RBI single. Kotsay got his third hit, a single, after reliever Luke Gregerson dropped a foul ball. It appeared that first baseman Hawpe's knee grazed Gregerson's head as he also went for the ball.
Moseley allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.
The Brewers scored an unearned run in the fourth, on Kotsay's single.
Manager Bud Black said the Padres had some good at-bats against Gallardo.
''We kept him working through the whole night,'' Black said. ''It elevated his pitch count and he was only able to go six. We had some chances but couldn't get that big knock.''
NOTES: Former big league closer Trevor Hoffman, who's now working in San Diego's front office, and former Padres reliever Akinori Otsuka will sign autographs prior to Friday night's game between the Mariners and Padres to raise money for Japan disaster relief. According to the Padres, the tsunami stopped one mile from Otsuka's home. ... Ludwick has four homers and 13 RBIs in his last seven games. ... San Diego's Jason Bartlett failed to drive in a run for the first time in 10 games. He had tied the club record with an RBI in nine straight games.