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04/06/08 1:39 PM ET
Gagne pleased with rebound outing
Closer has easy inning in earning first save with Milwaukee
By JR Radcliffe / Special to MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- As was the case with his first outing, Eric Gagne was on the hill in the ninth inning, and the place was going bonkers. That's where the similarities between appearances end. The Brewers closer retired all three San Francisco Giants he faced Saturday, bringing a quiet end to the Giants' offensive attack in a 5-4 Milwaukee victory. The Brewers fan base -- offering no hint of dissatisfaction following a bumpy first outing -- kept anything but quiet as their team improved to 4-1. "I didn't know there was that many fans out here, so the first day was awesome," Gagne said of Friday's home opener. "The fans showed up a lot, and it was a great atmosphere." The Brewers' biggest offseason acquisition recorded his first save in a Milwaukee uniform and shook off the effects of his outing in the season opener Monday. In that game, he allowed three runs in a save situation for the first time in his career on Kosuke Fukudome's game-tying three-run homer, giving the Chicago Cubs an extra inning in an eventual Milwaukee victory. "I got out of my delivery a little bit in Chicago, and I've been working on it a little bit," Gagne said. "I'm healthy finally on the mound and just worried about getting people out, so it's pretty good to be able to do that." Gagne recorded a strikeout and two popouts Saturday, needing just 13 tosses to complete the inning. "Gagne's thrown pretty good for a lot of years," Brewers manager Ned Yost said after Saturday's win. "In years past, we've seen the 97, 98 mph Gagne. Since he's come back from his injury, he's learned how to pitch. He still spots a 94 mile-an-hour fastball, but he has a nice curveball, nice changeup, and he pitches out there. It was a big time for him to come in there and get his first save." Yost said Gagne, who endured season-ending surgeries in 2005 (elbow) and 2006 (back), may have learned even more pitching tools in his rehabbing process, even without the top-flight velocity. "He's developed himself now to what he is," Yost said. "It's just going out and executing pitches now. That's what we saw last year when we played him in Texas." Said Gagne, "I just rely on throwing strikes and for me right now, I don't throw as hard as I used to, but I still throw really hard compared to a lot of people. I'm just worried about getting the ball down, throwing strikes and getting the guy off balance a little bit."
JR Radcliffe is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.