MILWAUKEE — San Diego Padres long reliever Ross Ohlendorf knew he would be pitching at some point Saturday, June 9th against the Milwaukee Brewers with starter Andrew Cashner on a tight pitch count.
Ohlendorf, signed by the Padres on June 4, had a strong relief outing and the Padres strung together four consecutive singles in a sixth-inning rally to beat the Brewers 5-2.
The game followed a Friday night slugfest when the teams combined for six home runs. None were hit on a sweltering day in front of a capacity crowd at Miller Park.
Ohlendorf (1-0) pitched 4 1-3 innings to earn the victory. He gave up five hits, one earned run and struck out four as the Padres got their sixth road victory this year against 20 losses, the worst such record in the majors.
“Obviously going into this game there was no doubt that Ross was going to pitch,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “We talked about it leading up to it. Ross knew that he was going to be the first guy in. He pitched extremely well. He gave us exactly what we hoped for.”
Black had such confidence in the way Ohlendorf was pitching that he opted not to pinch-hit for him in the sixth inning with two outs and two runners on base. Ohlendorf struck out, but Black wanted him on the mound in the bottom of the inning.
“I thought he was throwing the ball very well,” Black said. “We had a 4-2 lead. I thought getting one more inning out of him was essential based on how our pen was.”
Ohlendorf remained in the game until the seventh, when he recorded two quick outs before giving up consecutive singles. He gave way to Luke Gregerson, who retired Rickie Weeks on a line drive to center to end any chance of a Brewers rally.
Huston Street pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save.
Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso had high praise for Ohlendorf.
“We needed him to step up. He was ready,” Alonso said. “You could see it in his eyes early in the game. He knew we were going to ride him. He knows what he’s doing. He was pounding the zone and he was working quick. He had a routine and rhythm going early.”
Alonso broke out of an 0-for-21 slump with singles in the sixth and seventh innings, one of which drove in a run.
“I think my pitch selection was better today. It’s something I’ve been working on,” Alonso said. “The last week or so my pitch selection hasn’t been too good.
Mike Fiers (1-2), making his third start of the season for Milwaukee, allowed 10 hits and four earned runs in six innings. He walked one and struck out six.
The Padres got to the 26-year-old in the sixth when Chase Headley, Alonso and Cameron Maybin hit consecutive one-out singles to load the bases. John Baker followed with another single, a shot up the middle, to drive in two runs.
“Fiers threw too many hittable pitches,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “They didn’t crush balls but they put the ball in play a lot.”
Fiers said it’s important that he continue to learn from his mistakes.
“Four runs in six innings is not a great job,” he said. “I’ve got to do better.”
Ohlendorf entered the game with one out in the third, replacing Cashner, a 25-year-old making his first start of the season and just the second in a major league career that has spanned parts of three seasons. He threw several pitches that registered 100 mph or greater on the Miller Park scoreboard.