Baseball / Sports

Brewers' Yovani Gallardo shuts down Diamondbacks

PHOENIX -- Yovani Gallardo is back in a groove, and that's a very good thing for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The right-hander turned in his third consecutive strong start Thursday afternoon, limiting the Arizona Diamondbacks to five hits and one run over seven innings to lead the way in a 4-1 victory at Chase Field.

Gallardo (5-4) has now pitched seven innings in each of his last three outings -- two victories and a no-decision -- and allowed just two earned runs over that span.

That the Diamondbacks were his victim came as little surprise. In beating them, he improved to 7-0 with a 1.86 earned run average in 10 career starts against them and 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA in five career starts at Chase Field.

"Sometimes you look at it, that's just how this game is," said Gallardo, who with 86 career victories is tied with Ben Sheets for fifth most in franchise history.

"There's certain things like that I wish I could explain, but I can't. Going into today, the previous two starts, I've been feeling good. I've been throwing the ball pretty well and just keeping the ball down and locating it. It all starts with that."

The Brewers managed all their offense over the final five innings, with Elian Herrera's single to center in the fifth providing the decisive run.

Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth to record his 23rd save of the season and 327th of his career, 14th most on the all-time list.

Milwaukee has now won five of six road games, with a three-game series at the Colorado Rockies beginning Friday night, and is back to a season-high 14 games over .500 at 44-30.

"I think anytime we come here and play well, it's a plus," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We have struggled here. So I hope they take it into Colorado. It starts with what we're doing on the mound. We pitch well there, I think we're swinging the bats well enough that we'll be able to score some runs."

Both teams rested some key starters the day after a night game. The Brewers sat Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy, while the Diamondbacks went without Miguel Montero and Martin Prado.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there wasn't a lot of offense to start. Gallardo held Arizona hitless until Chris Owings singled with one out in the fourth inning. After Owings moved to third with two outs, Gallardo got Aaron Hill to ground out to keep the Diamondbacks scoreless.

Milwaukee was robbed of a hit in its first at-bat when Didi Gregorius speared a Scooter Gennett liner to third. Although Khris Davis was hit by a Chase Anderson pitch in the second, the Brewers didn't manage a hit off of him until the fifth.

Aramis Ramirez led off that frame with a double to right. He had to hold at second base on a fly out to right by Davis but scored when Lyle Overbay hit a sharp grounder to center that grazed Anderson on its way past him.

Overbay then continued on to second base when no one covered the bag. It was a gaffe that benefited the Brewers when Herrera, playing in right field in place of Braun and hitting eighth, blooped a single to center to score Overbay.

"To be honest with you, I really liked their pitcher and what he did," Roenicke said. "That's the first time we've seen him, and this guy has a good idea of what he's doing."

The Diamondbacks struck back in the bottom half, when Gregorius drove in David Peralta with a fielder's choice. Gallardo got himself out of the inning with no further trouble, and then picked up another run in the sixth thanks to a miscue by Anderson.

With one out, Jean Segura hit a high chopper off the plate. Anderson fielded it and threw over to first despite having no shot at getting the speedy shortstop. The throw got past Paul Goldschmidt and Segura wound up at second base.

Carlos Gomez's third strikeout left it up to Ramirez to drive in Segura, and he did, singling to left on the first offering he saw from Anderson to give Milwaukee its two-run cushion back at 3-1.

Gallardo cruised through his final two innings. He allowed a single in the sixth and then stranded a one-out double in the seventh to finish his day at 108 pitches.

"The past few starts I've been able to command my fastball to both sides of the plate and both the curveball and the slider," Gallardo said. "I think I was still a little bit too quick in the first few innings, but I was able to make pitches whenever I needed to."

Milwaukee added a run in the eighth with Gomez driving in Gennett with a two-out single to make it 4-1. Zach Duke and Rob Wooten combined to pitch a scoreless eighth to set the stage for Rodriguez in the ninth.

No question, the Brewers are playing with tremendous confidence right now.

"We've got the feeling like every time we get to the ballpark we're going to win," Gomez said. "That's really fun. The game just finished, and I'm excited to play tomorrow. We've been so good, we want to spend more time in the stadium than at home."

(c)2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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