Gallardo, homers set tone as Brewers hold on

Gallardo, homers set tone as Brewers hold on

Gallardo, homers set tone as Brewers hold on
MILWAUKEE -- After the Brewers' offense sputtered all weekend in St. Louis, likely one of the last pitchers the team wanted to see was the Reds' Bronson Arroyo.

But instead of Arroyo walking away with his third win of the year over the Crew, Milwaukee broke out of its slump to the tune of a 6-3 win over division-leading Cincinnati on Monday night at Miller Park. The Brewers used a three-homer sixth inning that produced as many runs (four) as Milwaukee scored in its three straight losses against the Cardinals to chase Arroyo and produce a much-desired win.

"That was good offense," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "That was a lot of good at-bats. I know Arroyo gives us problems. He's tricky, knows how to pitch, and we did a nice job with him."

In his three previous outings against the Brewers this season, Arroyo was 2-0, allowing six runs and one homer in 20 1/3 innings. On Monday night, the Brewers nearly equaled that run total over the span of two innings, giving their own starter, Yovani Gallardo, all the run support he needed.

Gallardo appeared sharp from the start, cruising through six scoreless innings before allowing a solo homer off the bat of Zack Cozart in the top of the seventh. By then, however, the Milwaukee offense, including Gallardo, had done enough to give the 26-year-old right-hander a relatively comfortable lead.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth, when Martin Maldonado led off the inning with a double -- one of his three extra-base hits on the night. After Jean Segura, playing in his first game with the Brewers, advanced Maldonado to third on a flyout, Gallardo opened the scoring with a single to left field. That run broke a 21-inning scoreless streak going back to Saturday's game in St. Louis.

It also marked the second straight start in which Gallardo helped his own cause with an RBI hit. More importantly, Gallardo was tough on the mound on the way to earning his second consecutive win following back-to-back losses. In a performance very similar to his last outing against the Astros, Gallardo allowed six hits and just one earned run in seven innings on Monday.

Gallardo said he was able to continue the rhythm he found in his start, which was important against a team such as the Reds.

"They've got pretty good hitters on that side," he said. "We have faced them quite a bit. There's no secret. They know what I throw and what I like to throw, but it's just like [pitching coach Rick Kranitz said], it's a matter of keeping the ball down and moving around."

That control in the bottom of the strike zone was the difference between Gallardo's gem and Arroyo's forgettable night.

Armed with a 1-0 lead, Aramis Ramirez started the Brewers' home run surge in the bottom of the sixth, drilling a solo shot into the home bullpen in left field. Two pitches later, Corey Hart put one in almost the same spot to give his team a 3-0 lead. Rickie Weeks kept it rolling in the next at-bat with a single, setting the stage for Maldonado, who snuck a two-run shot over the wall near the foul pole in left field to give the Brewers three home runs in an inning for the second time this season.

"Keeping the ball down was going to be at a premium today," Arroyo said. "You could just tell, the ball, especially going to right-center, was just flying out. Some balls that even we hit looked like they were going to be lazy fly balls ended up being to the wall."

The Reds didn't make things interesting until the eighth inning, when both starters had left the game.

Cincinnati loaded the bases with one out against Francisco Rodriguez before he gave way to John Axford. After allowing a base hit to score a run and make it 5-2, Axford received some help from his defense, when Norichika Aoki made a sliding catch that robbed Dioner Navarro of an RBI extra-base hit. A run scored on the play, but Axford forced Cozart into a popout in the next at-bat to escape the inning without any more damage.

"Those plays, they turn games around," Roenicke said of Aoki's catch. "By shutting an offense down when you make a play like that is big."

Had Aoki not made the play, Cincinnati could have potentially tied the game. Instead, Axford used the momentum from the eighth to close out the Reds in order in the ninth for his 18th save of the season.

With the win, the Brewers still find themselves 16 1/2 games behind the Reds in the National League Central. But that couldn't detract from the good feeling Roenicke and his players had after beating a team that had won 15 of 17 games, including nine straight on the road.

"Real nice," Roenicke said of the win. "As hot as these guys have been, it's real nice."

Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.