If there's a more surprising story in the National League right now than the emergence of right-hander Seth McClung as a viable starter in the Brewers rotation, it must be a good one.
McClung, who began the season in a long-relief role, turned in his fourth consecutive quality start Saturday night in a 3-2 interleague victory over Baltimore. McClung kept the Orioles off the board until Oscar Salazar smacked a two-run homer with two outs in the seventh inning.
McClung, who has made six appearances since joining the rotation, is 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA over his stretch of four quality starts.
Asked if he could have anticipated the boost McClung has given his rotation, manager Ned Yost tried bluffing the postgame media contingent into believing he did. Then Yost laughed and fessed up.
"It was totally, ‘OK, you want an opportunity, here's an opportunity. Let's see what you do with it,' " Yost said. "If he had gotten knocked around the first three or four starts, we would have done something else. But he never let that happen."
Afterward, McClung refused to acknowledge the obvious that he is a fixture in the rotation.
"I can be replaced at any time," he said. "That keeps me hungry. I want to go out and win a championship. I've never been part of a team that had a chance to do it until now."
Brewers 7, Orioles 3
Walks are supposed to kill a team, but the Brewers got away with issuing 10 against the Orioles, with only one scoring. Defense was the key to making that work. The Brewers turned in five double plays and several other web gems to finish off a 6-3 homestand. First baseman Prince Fielder paced a four-homer attack with blasts in consecutive at-bats in the sixth and seventh innings as Milwaukee overcame an early two-run deficit. Third baseman Bill Hall picked up his first home run since May 13 and right fielder Corey Hart socked his second two-run shot in two games. And closer Salomon Torres came through again, notching his 11th save in 11 chances since taking over for injured Eric Gagne.
--2B Rickie Weeks (sprained left knee) was activated from the 15-day DL and returned to the starting lineup Sunday for the series finale against Baltimore. INF/OF Hernan Iribarren was optioned to Class AAA Nashville to make room on the roster for Weeks.
--Gagne, who has been on the disabled list since May 21 with rotator cuff tendonitis, will begin a minor league rehabilitation stint with Nashville on Tuesday. The plan is for Gagne to make two appearances with Nashville before rejoining the Brewers next weekend in Minnesota.
--CF Mike Cameron sat out all three games of the weekend series with a hyper-extended right big toe. Yost said Cameron was available to play off the bench and expected the veteran to be ready to return to action tonight in Atlanta.
--LHP Manny Parra boosted his winning streak to six games Sunday despite issuing a career-high six walks in five innings. Parra hasn't lost since May 3 in Houston.
By the numbers
0-18 -- The Brewers stretch of futility with runners in scoring position over a period of two-plus games before Hart slammed his two-run homer in the second inning Sunday off Garrett Olson.
Quote to note
"We don't have to change anything. Just keep doing what we're doing. We've got a nice team and we're playing well now."-- Yost, after the Brewers finished off a 6-3 homestand against American League teams.