MILWAUKEE -- Although Manny Parra's bid to make the starting rotation appeared to be falling apart toward the end toward the end of spring training, the Milwaukee Brewers decided to give him a shot anyway.
It looked like a wise move Saturday, as Parra earned his first major league victory with a breakout performance in Milwaukee's 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants.
Brewers manager Ned Yost said the team wrote off Parra's shaky performance near the end of exhibition play as a young player showing some nerves as he tried to secure a spot on the team.
"There is some pressure there, and you do press, and you don't do what comes naturally," Yost said. "And what he does naturally is really, really good."
The 25-year-old left-hander looked like a natural on the mound Saturday, holding the Giants hitless through five innings before giving up a pair of runs in the sixth and leaving the game with a 3-2 lead.
Kapler came out of retirement after managing in Boston's farm system last year.
"When he came to spring training, you could see real quick, this guy still had game left in him," Yost said.
The Brewers will try for a three-game series sweep of the Giants on Sunday.
Parra gave up a leadoff triple to Eugenio Velez to start the sixth, ending his no-hit bid. Velez then scored on a passed ball by catcher Mike Rivera, and Parra gave up a double to Randy Winn. Ray Durham singled in Winn and Yost pulled Parra in favor of reliever David Riske.
Parra, who threw a perfect game for the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate in Nashville last year, realized he had the early makings of a no-hitter but wasn't fixating on it.
"I realized I hadn't given up a hit," Parra said. "But at that point, it's still, make sure I can go deep into the game -- although I didn't go as far as I wanted to go in today's game."
Parra exited to a standing ovation from Brewers fans -- making up for the fact that they didn't seem to recognize that Parra had lost his no-hitter earlier in the inning.
"He pitched well and that's how it goes sometimes," Giants outfielder Rajai Davis said. "When he needed to make a big pitch, he was able to get it. Or we hit it right at someone."
Parra was a surprise addition to Milwaukee's starting rotation after the more experienced Claudio Vargas was released near the end of spring training. Yost said Parra combines a 94-mph fastball with a tight curveball, also throwing a changeup and splitter.
He used his curveball to get Davis to strike out looking with two out and runners on second and third in the fifth after an intense 10-pitch at-bat.
"I was just pumped from that situation," Parra said. "I just really wanted to get out of that situation, show the team that I'll battle."
Braun homered in the sixth, but the Giants got one run back in the seventh off Riske when Milwaukee failed to turn a double play and Daniel Ortmeier scored, cutting the lead to 4-3.
New Milwaukee closer Eric Gagne pitched a perfect ninth for his first save, recovering from a shaky outing in the Brewers' opening day victory over the Chicago Cubs.
"It's good to get the first one out of the way," Gagne said.
Giants starter Kevin Correia (0-1) gave up four runs and six hits in six innings after falling ill earlier in the week.
"He gave an early cheap run or he would have had a quality start," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I thought he threw the ball really well, especially as sick as he was this week."
- Milwaukee 2B Rickie Weeks didn't score a run Saturday, breaking a 17-game streak with at least one run scored dating back to last season. Weeks would have tied a major league record by scoring Saturday.
- Kapler's home run in the seventh was the first pinch-hit homer of his career.