MILWAUKEE -- There was a long delay before Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was ready to meet with the media after Saturday night's 4-3 victory over Philadelphia.
With closer Jim Henderson set to come off the disabled list tomorrow, a roster move had to be made, and there's usually a delay when one is coming. But this one was longer.
As it turns out, Roenicke was waiting to talk to Tyler Thornburg. First, Roenicke wanted to congratulate the right-hander on his first Major-League win, but then he had to notify Thornburg he was going back down to Triple-A.
Where was Thornburg? Well, he was trying to clean out his ears. His teammates surprised him with a cold water and baby powder shower, and he couldn't get the mixture out of his ears to go meet with the manager.
It was a bittersweet night for Thornburg, as he was packing his bags for Nashville less than a half hour after his first major league win.
"I kind of figured it was coming," Thornburg said. "I knew a move had to be made, and especially with those off-days coming up, you don't really need a long guy in there. I'm happy to get my first win; I'm not happy to go down."
While the timing of Thornburg's first win makes the decision to send him down seem tough, he was the odd man out in the bullpen. Henderson is ready to come back from a hamstring injury, and the Brewers would much rather Thornburg start in the minor leagues and keep Donovan Hand as a long reliever.
After going 0-7 with a 6.75 ERA in Triple-A this season, Thornburg had four scoreless innings for the Brewers this week. His first inning Saturday was a breeze, but he ran into trouble in the fifth inning.
Phillies first baseman Kevin Frandsen led off the inning with a double, while Jimmy Rollins followed with a single. The Brewers threw the ball back in poorly on Rollins' single, allowing him to scamper to second.
With the game tied 1-all, Thornburg responded by striking out Delmon Young, getting the red-hot Domonic Brown to ground into a fielders' choice cutting the runner down at the plate and ending the inning by getting John Mayberry to ground out.
For the Brewers, there's hope two good outings and Thornburg's first win of the season at any level can get one of their top pitching prospects rolling again.
"I hope a bunch," Roenicke said of how this can help Thornburg's confidence. "He made some really good pitches. He had a great fastball today. He threw some outstanding curveballs. It's something that should give him confidence when he goes down. To get big league hitters out and get out of jams like he did, no reason he can't do that in Triple-A."
The surprising thing is he hasn't done it in Triple-A. The Brewers have been baffled by the regression from Thornburg, someone they expected to be ready to join their rotation if needed. He's been needed, but hasn't been ready.
"Things haven't been going my way down there," Thornburg said. "The soft-hit balls are hits, the hard-hit balls are hits. I was fortunate to come up here and have things go my way a little bit. I think for the most part, I was happy to get in a game that was close up here, where you can get a little adrenaline pumping and get locked in.
"Most of the time, it's been a five-or-six-run game, so I was happy to get in a tight game for once. That's the one thing I wanted to do, get in a close game and show them I can pitch in those games."
Gorzelanny provides a lift: Tom Gorzelanny has started plenty of games in his big league career, but he still had to get settled in Saturday night in his first start since last October.
After a couple of innings of shaky command, Gorzelanny settled in and gave the Brewers just what they needed in his spot-start. The left-hander allowed just one earned run in four innings, throwing 58 pitches.
"I felt good out there," Gorzelanny said. "I think the third and the fourth innings were my better innings out there. So I felt like I kept getting stronger. I felt good. I enjoyed it."
While Gorzelanny made one start in October for Washington last season, he hasn't been a full-time starting pitcher in almost three years. He's been a valuable part of Milwaukee's bullpen, but the Brewers were desperate for a starter after Marco Estrada went on the disabled list.
"I just tired to go as far as I could," Gorzelanny said. "My mentality when I was out there was to try and make quick outs and pitch as deep as I could. To get four innings was good."
It was Gorzelanny's longest outing since July 6, 2011 when he went six innings in a start for the Nationals. While the slider has been "bugging" him since returning from the disabled list, Gorzelanny was pleased with the way the pitch felt Saturday.
"Tonight was the first night where it felt like I was throwing it exactly where I wanted it," Gorzelanny said. "I felt like I made good outs with it."
Henderson ready to go: Jim Henderson didn't lose his job while he was on the disabled list, but he may be eased back into the role because of the success his fill-in has had.
Francisco Rodriguez worked a perfect ninth inning Saturday for his fourth save since Henderson has been out and the 298th save of his career. With Rodriguez pitching well and chasing a personal milestone of 300 saves, Roenicke is able to give Henderson at least one inning to come back in a situation of lower intensity.
"We talked about it," Roenicke said. "Right at the beginning, I talked to Henderson and I told him I may give him a inning somewhere else first. Frankie is pitching great. If he wasn't, I'd just go back to Henderson.
"I'm not saying we are going to, but if we are able to do it, we are going to do it."
Burgos on the mend: Brewers rookie right-hander Hiram Burgos will begin a rehab assignment Monday with Single-A Wisconsin and will start that night against Clinton.
Burgos, on the disabled list since May 25 with a right shoulder impingement, is 1-2 with a 6.44 ERA in six starts this season.
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