Then, he made sure their misery continued.
Gwynn's bunt single was the catalyst in a four-run seventh inning, Adrian Gonzalez hit the go-ahead double and the San Diego Padres held on to beat the reshuffled but still struggling Brewers 6-5 on Wednesday night.
Prince Fielder reached 100 RBIs in the shortest amount of games in Brewers' history, but it was overshadowed by the flurry of moves the team made earlier in the day. Milwaukee sent shortstop J.J. Hardy to the minors to give top prospect Alcides Escobar a chance, designated third baseman Bill Hall for assignment and fired pitching coach Bill Castro.
"With everything that went on, [a win] would've been like the cherry on top of the sundae, but it didn't work out that way," Brewers manager Ken Macha said.
None of the changes worked against the Padres, who have won 11 of 15 and are 4-1 against Milwaukee this year. The Brewers, losers of 23 of 36 since starting July with a two-game lead in the NL Central, are 7 1/2 games behind first-place St. Louis.
"For me, personally, I'd be lying if I said this didn't mean a little extra," said Gwynn, who was traded from Milwaukee for Jody Gerut on May 21. "We may not have a chance to make the playoffs, but we can have a say in who doesn't."
The Brewers twice squandered one-run leads built against Padres starter Kevin Correia (8-9) and the beleaguered bullpen gave up the four runs in the seventh to make it 6-3.
"The team didn't lose this tonight, I lost it for us," said reliever Todd Coffey (4-2), who allowed three runs. "I came into a situation and I blew it twice."
In the seventh, he loaded the bases with no outs on a walk, a single and Gwynn's bunt single after he just beat the throw from third baseman Casey McGehee. David Eckstein followed with a fielder's choice to tie it before Mitch Stetter came in and gave up Gonzalez's RBI ground-rule double.
"The one he hit, I thought it was a good pitch, he just inside-outed it down the line," Stetter said.
Padres reliever Luke Gregerson allowed a two-out, two-run double to Fielder to make it 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh for the slugger's 99th and 100th RBIs. Reliever Mike Adams finished the inning by getting McGehee to fly out and worked around a walk in the eighth.
Heath Bell got his 29th save in 30 chances by forcing Mike Cameron to foul out to end it, stranding Escobar, who was running for Fielder after his two-out single.
"We battled back from a three-run deficit with the guys standing on their feet out there, but we couldn't tie the game," Macha said. "The intensity the guys had even when we fell behind there was terrific."
Correia allowed three runs, six hits and two walks in six innings. He said he didn't sense the Brewers were weighed down by the day's events.
"I don't think they took what happened out with them on the field because they're professionals," Correia said.
Escobar, a highly touted prospect considered the shortstop of the future, arrived shortly before gametime along with outfielder Jason Bourgeois, who replaced Hall on the roster. The 22-year-old Escobar spent a portion of his evening on the dugout rail with a bat on one shoulder and bench coach Willie Randolph talking strategy beside him. He pinch-ran for Fielder in the ninth, stealing a base and reaching third on a throwing error before being stranded.
Castro, who was in his 18th season with the Brewers, was replaced by Triple-A counterpart Chris Bosio. ... The Padres activated C Nick Hundley (wrist) from the 15-day DL. ... Padres RHP Cesar Carrillo will make his major league debut Thursday. Milwaukee is 0-4 against pitchers making their major league debuts this season. ... Escobar is expected to be in the starting lineup Thursday.