Counsell impressed by Pena's resilience
Righty acquired in Greinke trade with Angels fans pair in big league debut
CINCINNATI -- Ariel Pena departed Great American Ball Park late Saturday with a lineup card, a game ball, his first Major League victory, and the potential for a pending start.
The 26-year-old right-hander, promoted to the Majors on Friday, debuted in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader -- a 7-3 victory over the Reds -- and earned the win with three innings of post-rain delay relief. Pena was charged with two runs on two hits, the result of a misplaced fastball to Reds reliever Pedro Villareal that went for a two-run double.
"I thought it took him a while to settle into the game," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Pena, acquired in the 2012 trade that sent Zack Greinke to the Angels. "Really, his best work, to me, was in [his] third inning against [Joey] Votto and [Brandon] Phillips, which were really key spots in the game. I thought he started getting into a groove at that point. Sometimes that's kind of what you expect in your first time."
The Brewers were clinging to a 3-2 lead in that inning, the fifth, when Ivan DeJesus Jr. hit a one-out double. Pena retired Votto on a groundout and Phillips on a flyout to center field, where Logan Schafer made a nice running catch to end the threat.
Pena's next step is to be determined, though it's possible he will get a start on this road trip. The Brewers removed struggling right-hander Matt Garza from the rotation after his no-decision in Game 1 on Saturday, and they plan to fill the four or five starts that would have gone to Garza with internal candidates from the bullpen or the Minor Leagues.
"It's a good building block from today, because I felt comfortable out there," Pena said through translator Mike Guerrero, the team's first-base coach. "I felt I threw the ball well. Command was a tad off, but I felt good."