Carter homers twice; Brewers hold on to beat Angels 5-4
MILWAUKEE -- Junior Guerra was going to call his wife back home in Venezuela before checking into his hotel room on Tuesday night.
There was so much good news to share after the Milwaukee Brewers' right-hander won his first game in the majors in his first big league start.
Chris Carter hit two long home runs and drove in three, and Jonathan Lucroy also homered to back Guerra in the 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
"A long road, but you've just got to be thankful," the 31-year-old Guerra said through an interpreter. "Now I'm here, and I've got to get ready for my next start and be ready to come back and do it again."
Two years removed from playing professional ball in Italy, Guerra is a major league starter. Called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs this week, Guerra (1-0) allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings.
It was a solid enough outing to ease the burden on the heavily used Brewers bullpen.
"We haven't had many of these games where the bullpen could go 7-8-9 but tonight was the night," manager Craig Counsell said.
The Angels nearly spoiled Guerra's night after loading the bases in the seventh with two walks and a single and nobody out. Reliever Michael Blazek escaped the jam after Cliff Pennington popped out and Yunel Escobar bounced into a double play.
It was one of three double plays by the Angels, who didn't score after a three-run third. Mike Trout highlighted the rally with a two-run single, giving him 16 RBIs in his last 12 games.
"I think offensively we'll continue to grow as a team, and we're going to be fine. We just need to get a little continuity out of our starters," manager Mike Scioscia said.
Nick Tropeano (1-1) allowed five runs and five hits through five innings, plus five walks. He allowed all three Brewers homers.
"Command was a little off today. Obviously, the long ball hurt me. I left a couple of pitches up," Tropeano said.
With the Brewers trailing 4-0, Carter's two-run homer in the third caromed off the black batter's backdrop in center. His solo shot in a three-run fifth to deep left-center off starter Nick Tropeano (1-1) put Milwaukee up for good.
Carter also had a two-homer game on Sunday against the Marlins. He said his early success was due to "just hitting the ball wherever it's pitched instead of kind of being more of a pull hitter."
Jeremy Jeffress tossed a scoreless ninth for his seventh save. Lucroy hit his first homer of the year, a two-run shot to left that tied the game at 4 one batter before Carter hit his second homer.
Guerra's circuitous route through professional baseball began in 2009, when he was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for violating the minor league drug policy. After being released by the New York Mets organization, Guerra went on to pitch in an independent league and the Mexican League. He also pitched in Italy in 2014 before catching on with the White Sox organization last season, when he pitched three games in relief in the big leagues.
Guerra was claimed off waivers by the Brewers last October.
Angels: Starting pitcher C.J. Wilson (left shoulder inflammation) could start throwing off a mound soon. "A lot of it is contingent on how he feels, but he is getting out there pretty aggressive long toss," Scioscia said. The left-hander is on the 60-day disabled list.
Brewers: OF Ryan Braun got the night off after leaving Monday's game after the seventh with what Counsell called "general soreness." Counsell said Tuesday would have been an off day for Braun anyway. ... 2B Scooter Gennett (right oblique) is no longer in pain and "moving forward pretty aggressively" with his rehab, Counsell said. The team could know in a couple days whether Gennett will need a minor league stint.
Angels: LHP Hector Santiago (2-1) is making his first career start against Milwaukee on Wednesday. He is 1-4 with a 3.71 ERA in 17 career interleague games, including 10 starts.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (0-3) will try to notch his first quality start of the year when the Brewers wrap up their three-game set with Los Angeles. Opponents are hitting .411 off the right-hander.