MILWAUKEE -- With Ben Sheets injured, Milwaukee's ace is Chris Capuano.
The left-hander became the Brewers' first 15-game winner in 12 years, pitching Milwaukee to a 12-2 victory Friday night over the San Diego Padres. Geoff Jenkins hit a grand slam to cap a seven-run second inning and Carlos Lee added his 30th homer.
"Our ace is down, but that doesn't mean we don't have to play the rest of the season," Capuano said. "We all have got to try to pick up the slack collectively as a pitching staff."
But even Sheets, who tore a back muscle last week and is on the disabled list, hasn't been able to put up the kind of numbers Capuano (15-9) is compiling. He is Milwaukee's first 15-game winner since Cal Eldred went 16-16 in 1993.
And this is Capuano's first full big-league season -- he was injured for part of 2004 and made only 17 starts. He's quietly compiled a 3.52 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 185 innings, and probably five starts left.
"Spending time on the DL last year, no one should have to go through," he said, referring to injuries to his legs and pitching arm. "There's no worse feeling than you're not helping your team, you're dead weight."
Padres starter Brian Lawrence (7-14) got just five outs in the shortest start of his career.
After he narrowly avoided danger in the first when Lee hit a long shot barely foul, Lawrence couldn't stop the Brewers in the second.
He gave up back-to-back singles to Russell Branyan and Damian Miller before walking Corey Hart to load the bases with none out.
Capuano struck out before Rickie Weeks hit a slow bouncer that second baseman Mark Loretta fielded, but Lawrence couldn't beat Weeks to first on the infield single.
"We were slow getting over," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "Beating out that ball changed that inning that came back to haunt us."
The Brewers made it 3-0 and chased Lawrence after J.J. Hardy's sacrifice fly and Lyle Overbay's single.
Chris Oxspring relieved for his major league debut and didn't make a good first impression.
After Oxspring walked Lee on five pitches, Jenkins hit his third career slam and first since 2003 on the next pitch -- his second homer in two days and 20th of the season. He has 12 homers and a .346 average since July 5.
"I made a little tweak adjustment in my mechanics at the break, and that's obviously been helping out," Jenkins said. "It's just confidence when you start hitting the ball."
By then, Capuano had all the help he needed.
Lee made it 9-0 in the fourth when he hit a two-run shot to reach 30 homers for the third straight season -- the last two with the Chicago White Sox. He also got his team-leading 100th RBI.
"It was challenging," Lee said of the milestone after switching to the National League. "Me and Jenkins hitting at the same time is a lot of fun."
Milwaukee added two more in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Weeks and an RBI single by Hardy.
San Diego's Ben Johnson hit his third career homer in three games on Capuano's 99th pitch in the seventh. Capuano was finished at the end of the inning. He gave up four hits and struck out six.
But the NL West-leading Padres (67-67) had essentially given up on their modest three-game winning streak much earlier in the evening after pulling Loretta, Khalil Greene, Joe Randa and Brian Giles in the fifth.
Lawrence, who fell to 2-8 in his last 10 decisions, gave up five runs and four hits. He walked three and struck out three.
Brewers CF Brady Clark missed the game because his wife, Sara, went into labor Friday with their first child. ... Miller returned to the lineup after missing a day because of illness. ... San Diego has held or been tied for the division lead since May 26 despite going 39-48 in that stretch. ... Giles got his league-leading 98th walk in the second. ... Jenkins' homer tied him for fifth on the Brewers' career list with Greg Vaughn at 169. The last time Jenkins hit a grand slam was July 5, 2003, off Colorado's Nelson Cruz.