MILWAUKEE — A little extra work for Chris Carter and Zach Davies paid off in a big way on Sunday.
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Carter hit a towering solo homer and a tiebreaking RBI double, breaking out of a long slump and leading the Brewers to a 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.
"Everybody is coming at you with different ideas, saying try something new," said Carter, who instead took extra batting practice during the series to refine his approach. "To be able to make the adjustment on the fly after you work on it, that’s huge in those situations when you’re struggling a little bit."
Carter was mired in an 0-for-23 slide before he belted a 443-foot homer off the scoreboard in center field in the third. Carter, who finished with three hits, doubled home the winning run against Kevin Quackenbush (1-2) in the seventh.
"I knew it was probably a week or so since I’d gotten a hit," Carter said. "The biggest thing was not getting hits in big situations with runners on base or when the game was close. That’s what bothered me most about it."
While Carter had the big blow in the seventh, Davies put Milwaukee in position to win with a solid effort thanks to his own adjustments. The right-hander allowed two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings.
"Small, mechanical things," Davies said of his extra work. "Getting through the ball. Making sure I’m not stopping (my pitching motion) and limiting myself around the zone."
Davies’ emergence in the rotation would be a welcome development for Milwaukee with Taylor Jungmann sent back to Triple-A Colorado Springs, Matt Garza still on the injured list and Wily Peralta struggling badly.
Jonathan Lucroy’s fourth homer in nine games lifted Milwaukee to a 2-1 lead in the fifth. But Brett Wallace chased Davies with a drive to center in the seventh.
Padres starter Cesar Vargas bounced back from a tough start in a loss against the Cubs on Tuesday. He allowed two runs over five innings, striking out a career-high seven.
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Blaine Boyer (1-0) got two outs for the win and Jeremy Jeffress worked the ninth for his 10th save in 10 opportunities.
San Diego had the tying run on third in the eighth, but Michael Blazek got Matt Kemp to fly out to center to end the threat. Jeffress allowed a two-out double when right fielder Domingo Santana misplayed a fly ball before Jose Pirela grounded out to end the game.
"It’s as simple as you move to the next pitch," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "There are going to be things out of your control that happen. Control what you can control. He went on to make pitches to get out of it."
San Diego heads home after a 4-3 road trip and gets a much needed day off on Monday. Manager Andy Green was warming up starters late in the game in case it went into extra innings.
"We didn’t really have a lot of bullets in the gun, a lot of choices to make today," Green said. "We had a lot of pitchers in the bullpen down. We had starters up in the `pen at the end. We’re using our closer in the eighth inning. Yet there we are in the ninth with a chance to tie the game, and possibly win the game."
The Padres called up reliever Tayron Guerrero from Triple-A El Paso, sending fellow right-hander Leonel Campos back down.
Padres: Derek Norris (left hand) returned to the starting lineup, playing first base, and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. … Regular first baseman Wil Myers was a late scratch with left forearm tightness. "He was getting his last-minute swings in before the game and just felt real stiff in his forearm," Green said. "We went ahead and pulled him."
Brewers: LF Ryan Braun had a precautionary X-ray that was negative on his irritated right wrist and was out of the starting lineup for the second straight day. Braun said the wrist began bothering him a couple of days ago, but he played through it. He is hitting .367 with seven homers and 27 RBIs and considered day to day.
Padres: Following the off day, San Diego begins a six-game homestand when it faces San Francisco on Tuesday. The Padres will face Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija in that series.
Brewers: Milwaukee also is off on Monday before welcoming the Cubs for a three-game series. RHP Chase Anderson (1-5, 6.11 ERA) will face Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (2-2, 3.03 ERA) in the opener.