MILWAUKEE -- It took more than a month in the big leagues for Jonathan Lucroy to finally get that first home run he's been waiting half his life for.
The rookie catcher called up in May finally hit one out, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to an 8-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night."It is something I've been thinking about since I was 12," Lucroy said as he stood in front of his locker, the ball resting on the shelf behind his shoulder. "I worked hard my whole life to get to this point and to have it finally happen and mean something makes it that much better."Lucroy, who turned 24 earlier in June, was called up from Triple-A Nashville on May 21 after starting catcher Gregg Zaun strained his right shoulder. He took the starting job from veteran George Kottaras with his timely hitting and ability to throw out runners.But he had not gotten his first home run or RBI until Friday, despite hitting over .300. It was starting to bother him a bit."I knew it would happen sooner or later," he said. "I've always known I'm a better hitter than a catcher. I was just trying to have a good at-bat and he just happened to run into my barrel."Dave Bush (3-5), whose last turn in the rotation was skipped, pitched six innings to help Milwaukee win a season-high fifth straight. He gave up three runs on seven hits. Carlos Villanueva, Kameron Loe and Trevor Hoffman each pitched a scoreless inning in relief.Bush allowed three runs in the first three innings."After that I settled in and get my fastball back down," he said. "It was a bit of a challenge to have that much time off, but that's the way it is right now so I have to do the best I can."Ryan Rowland-Smith (1-7) gave up five runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings.Rowland-Smith retired nine of the first 10 batters, but Corey Hart led off the fourth with a single and Ryan Braun singled before Lucroy's three-run shot. Carlos Gomez followed with a solo homer -- while Lucroy was taking a curtain call."As soon as he hit it, I was thinking to myself, just that one pitch," Rowland-Smith said. "Those two pitches in the fourth inning, that's just what really changed the game."Alcides Escobar's sacrifice fly in the sixth inning and Prince Fielder RBI double in the seventh upped the Brewers lead to 6-3. Gomez singled and Escobar hit another sacrifice to add two more runs in the eighth.Milton Bradley hit a sacrifice fly in the second and Franklin Gutierrez added one in the third, along with Mike Sweeney's RBI single for a 3-0 lead.Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said he was disappointed his team had lost two straight after winning six in a row to gain some momentum."To me, you take it back to two pitches in the fourth," he said.
Seattle activated right-hander Doug Fister from the 15-day disabled list. Fister, who is 3-3 with a 2.45 ERA in 10 starts this season, will start Saturday against the Brewers. The Mariners also placed right-hander Shawn Kelley on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation. ... For the first time since leaving to become general manager of the Mariners, former Brewers director of scouting Jack Zduriencik returned to Miller Park on Friday. ... Milwaukee outfielder Jody Gerut took batting practice Friday for the first time since going on the disabled list June 7 with a bruised right heel.