Starters? Who needs starters?

The team that has fallen largely on starting pitching this season came up with a novel way to win a game Saturday night.

The Milwaukee Brewers did it without a starting pitcher.

Using reliever Tom Gorzelanny as a spot starter for the injured Marco Estrada, the Brewers put three more middle guys out there before Frankie Rodriguez closed out a 4-3 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies.

It was the 298th career save for Rodriguez, who needs two more to tie Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter and Jason Isringhausen at the landmark number.

After the game, the Brewers sent Tyler Thornburg, who pitched two good innings and earned his first major-league victory, back to Class AAA Nashville, where he was 0-7. The move was made to clear a roster spot for primary closer Jim Henderson to come off the disabled list Sunday.

Mindful of what No. 300 means to Rodriquez, manager Ron Roenicke said he would probably use Henderson in an earlier bullpen role and give Rodriquez a couple of shots to reach the milestone.

"We talked about it with Henderson," Roenicke said. "Frankie's pitching great. If we can do it, we're going to do it."

The Brewers got exactly what they wanted out of Gorzelanny, who had started 111 games in a nine-year big league career but none lately. Gorzelanny gave up nothing but a Domonic Brown homer in four innings and then turned it over to a bullpen that has been the best part of the Brewers this season.

Thornburg and the newly clean-shaven John Axford held the ship. Brandon Kintzler gave up two runs in the eighth on a double by the white-hot Brown, but Rodriguez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

"Kintzler was not on his game, but everybody else was very good," Roenicke said. "The bullpen keeps pitching well."

And the pen was allowed to be a little bit sharper Saturday night because the offense was just good enough to give it a lead with which to work. The two-run sixth inning, highlighted by catcher Jonathan Lucroy's double, was a rare luxury in a year in which a lot of the bullpen's good work has been accomplished in the obscurity of opponent leads.