PEORIA, Ariz. -- Milwaukee has an opening at first base, and Mat Gamel is making the most of the opportunity.
Gamel hit a grand slam and a solo homer Saturday, leading the Brewers to a 10-7 victory over a split-squad of San Diego Padres.Gamel, who is expected to replace departed slugger Prince Fielder, hit a drive to right against Tim Stauffer during Milwaukee's six-run third inning. Three innings later, Gamel added a solo shot off closer Huston Street."I'm excited to break with the big club and be a part of it all," said Gamel, who has appeared in 85 games in parts of four major league seasons. "It's been a tough club to make the last couple of seasons, especially with the positions I play. I never really produced when I came off the bench so that was out of the question."When Fielder signed a $214 million contract with Detroit in January, it was widely assumed Gamel would have an opportunity to win the job. A fourth-round draft pick in 2005, Gamel hit .310 with 28 homers and 96 RBIs at Triple-A Nashville last season.Though he hasn't officially learned he will make the club, Gamel has done nothing to hurt his chances of making the opening-day roster. Gamel leads Milwaukee with six homers and 14 RBIs this spring."He's working hard," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He got himself in great shape coming in and he knows the job is there for him. He's dedicated himself enough to where I think he has put himself in position where he has a good chance at having a good year. He's worked hard on a different setup in his batting stance and I think it's working well."Alex Gonzalez and Carlos Gomez also homered for the Brewers. NL MVP Ryan Braun went 2 for 3 to raise his average to .216."You look at his last seven at-bats and six have been stung," Roenicke said of Braun.Stauffer, San Diego's likely opening-day starter, allowed six runs and seven hits in five innings, but manager Bud Black saw some good signs during the 81-pitch outing."He hung in there," Black said. "He had the rough inning. But I thought his stuff was a little better, which was a good sign."Street, who takes over for departed free agent Heath Bell in the closer's role, also had a rough inning. Street, who was acquired from the Colorado Rockies for a minor leaguer in November, allowed four runs.Padres outfielder Jesus Guzman hit a three-run homer off Chris Narveson, who gave up seven runs, five earned, and seven hits in five innings.Nyjer Morgan went 1 for 2 with an RBI for the Brewers.Chris Denorfia and Kyle Blanks each had two hits for San Diego.