PHOENIX -- On the bus ride back to Maryvale Baseball Park after an ugly loss to the Cubs on Thursday, Brewers skipper Ken Macha was hot. And it had nothing to do with the above-average temperatures in the Valley of the Sun.

In the 7-4 loss, Macha figures his team spotted the Cubs 14 baserunners, 11 on walks and three more on defensive misplays, including two errors. And he was not thrilled with at least two baserunning plays, including one in the first inning that ended with J.J. Hardy out at the plate.

So Macha stewed on that bus ride. By the cool of Friday morning, watching his team stretch before a game against the A's, he had settled himself.

"I needed to check myself," Macha said. "It was only the second Spring Training game. ... I got up this morning and said to myself, 'It's still February. Chill out a little bit.'"

Macha was feeling better by Friday afternoon, when his team pinned down an 8-5 win over the A's. It was Macha's first win for his new team -- an exhibition win, but a win nonetheless -- and it came against his former team.

"A little better than yesterday," Macha said on the field after the A's made their final out. "We only had one walk and a hit batsman. We had one error and only one baserunning mistake. So everything went down. That's an improvement."

He had plenty of positives to point to. Starter Manny Parra and relievers Mark DiFelice and Omar Aguilar combined for five scoreless innings to start the game. Craig Counsell, with his new batting stance that has his hands dramatically lower than in past seasons, had two more hits and is batting .833 in the Cactus League. Corey Hart drove in another run, and shortstop Alcides Escobar woke a sleepy crowd in the eighth inning when he fielded a grounder up the middle, spun and fired a fastball to first base for the final out.

But there still were nits to pick. Minor Leaguer Cutter Dykstra nearly missed his at-bat in the seventh inning because he wasn't sure of the batting order, though he redeemed himself by knocking an RBI double without any batting gloves. Brewers pitchers combined to surrender five A's runs over the final four innings, three charged to Chase Wright in the final two frames of what Macha characterized as a subpar outing.

"The greatest virtue of a manager is patience," said bench coach Willie Randolph, who spent the last four seasons managing the Mets. "But still, no matter what date it is, you want players to play smart and fundamentally sound.

"But, you know, whether it's Spring Training or not, there are certain things that [get managers upset] once in a while. There's nothing you can do about that. You just have to get that frustration out and get back the next day."

Macha said he got the same advice about being patient from Chuck Tanner, the legendary former manager who was Macha's skipper in Pittsburgh in 1977-78. (Trivia time: Tanner began his Major League playing career with the Milwaukee Braves and hit a home run in his first career at-bat on April 12, 1955, marking the only Braves player to accomplish that feat in Milwaukee).


"I needed to check myself. It was only the second Spring Training game. ... I got up this morning and said to myself, 'It's still February. Chill out a little bit."
-- Brewers manager
Ken Macha

Early in camp, Macha made it clear he expected players to confer with their respective position coaches -- Randolph has the infielders, first-base coach Ed Sedar again handles the outfielders and third-base coach Brad Fischer covers the catchers -- to establish a schedule for early work. Randolph has been encouraged by the players who have taken those orders seriously. By the time the team takes the field to stretch between 9-10 a.m. MT, most players already have done an hour or so of individual fielding work.

"Every camp has its different feel and every organization has its different ways of doing things, but I like the way these guys get their work in," Randolph said. "I've been really impressed, especially with the number of guys who were down here early. These guys have been working hard on the field and in the weight room, and I like the way they have approached me and the other coaches to ask questions. This is mostly a young team, so that's good to see."

Given that he was not happy with a handful of baserunning plays in Thursday's loss to the Cubs, it was interesting that the team fundamental exercise on Friday covered that topic. Macha said it was a coincidence.

By that time he had taken his own advice and chilled out. Macha picked up Fischer at 5:15 a.m. on Friday to get to Maryvale in time for the daily staff meeting, during which the group discussed Thursday's game and then moved on to the A's on Friday.

"I got it all out of my system," Macha said.