Familiar face brings bad company

Familiar face brings bad company

SAN DIEGO -- It was almost like Mike Cameron never left on Tuesday, the way that he appeared to glide across the expansive PETCO Park outfield, the way that he used to turn on pitches from time to time, hitting balls that sometimes made this ballpark look small.

No, it wasn't Cameron who hit a monster, three-run home run during the fourth inning, a violent cut unleashed by teammate Prince Fielder, but Cameron's impact was every bit as significant during the Brewers' 5-2 victory over the Padres.

In his first game against his former team, the 35-year-old showed that he still has plenty of spring in his step and pop in his bat, as he hit a home run and chased down three balls at the wall in deep center field while diving to catch another.

"He got some good jumps on some well-hit balls," Padres manager Bud Black said of Cameron, who played the last two seasons with San Diego before signing a deal with Milwaukee in the offseason. "He's a Gold Glove winner. He made some nice plays."

Cameron's home run off Padres right-hander Cha Seung Baek (4-6) in the third inning didn't offer nearly the flash or the prodigious power of the three-run bomb that Fielder mashed in the fourth, a line drive down the line and deep, a location where few balls land.

"It was a good pitch, I thought," Baek said. "A cutter in, but he's got a great swing. It should me more in. One pitch killed me."

The home run was Fielder's 27th of the season, and it was enough for the Brewers (69-51), who have won their last seven games.

"That ball was hit hard," Black conceded.

Really, Baek, who has allowed four runs in three of his past four starts, didn't pitch all that poorly. He allowed seven hits and benefited from two double-play balls that were turned behind him, helping offset four walks.

The Padres (46-73) couldn't do much with Brewers right-hander Jeff Suppan (8-7) other than solo home runs by Kevin Kouzmanoff in the second inning, his 18th of the season, tying his career high from last season, and Jody Gerut in the sixth, his eighth since the All-Star break.

Kouzmanoff is hitting .281 for the season and .306 since the break with six home runs and 22 RBIs in 24 games. It was also his 10th home run this season at home.

"It's a great sign ... Kouz is still a developing player," Black said. "It's great to see him swinging the bat well in the second half again. He's doing some good things."

Gerut's homer was one ball Cameron couldn't track down, though he was already back at the wall when the ball sailed over the fence.

"Naw, he hit it too hard, man," Cameron said. "Wasn't any air underneath that."

In the first inning, Cameron tracked down Gerut's drive to deep center field, gliding to the ball before making the catch. He then raced in to make a diving grab on a ball hit by Luis Rodriguez.

Cameron was back at it in the third inning, chasing down a Brian Giles ball deep to center field and making a basket catch to end the inning. Finally, in the fourth inning, he made a nice running grab on a ball hit by Adrian Gonzalez.

"Just playing ball, man, that's it," Cameron said. "But it did feel like home, though. ... Been doing that my whole life."

But the Padres only managed four hits against Suppan in eight innings and didn't fare much better in the ninth inning against 36-year-old closer Salomon Torres, who continued his career revival by tossing a scoreless inning for his 23rd save.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.