Gallardo on a roll as Brewers stay hot at home

Gallardo on a roll as Brewers stay hot at home

Gallardo on a roll as Brewers stay hot at home
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke does not think his club is any better at home than on the road.

"I know you guys think I'm crazy," he said.

Not exactly, but recent evidence suggests that the Brewers could climb back into postseason contention by convincing Major League Baseball to move all of their remaining games to Miller Park. A 6-2 win over the Phillies on Friday was the Brewers' eighth straight victory at home. They have lost 14 of their last 15 games on the road.

Starter Yovani Gallardo had a lot to do with the home cooking on Friday, when he allowed only one Phillies run in seven innings and aided his own cause with a two-run single amid a decisive four-run fourth.

Ryan Braun made two of Milwaukee's outs in that inning, but hit a two-run home run in the sixth to back Gallardo, who has been a hit on the mound (wins in four straight starts) and at the plate (four straight games with an RBI, and five straight with a hit).

Gallardo has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last four starts, a stretch that has dropped his ERA from 4.07 to 3.67.

Incidentally, that run began four days after the Brewers traded Zack Greinke to the Angels.

"I don't know if that's the reason why," Roenicke said. "I just know that 'Yo,' he gets on a roll and pitches pretty well for quite a while. Hopefully, he can do this the rest of the season."

Three of the Phillies four hits against Gallardo came in quick succession in the fourth, when Chase Utley led off with a ground-rule double and scored on a Ryan Howard double that drove center fielder Nyjer Morgan straight back and glanced off his glove. Domonic Brown followed with a line-drive hit that was nearly caught by Brewers first baseman Corey Hart, but froze Howard at second base.

Gallardo retired the next three batters in order, with two of his nine strikeouts. He surrendered only one other hit -- a Brian Schneider single leading off the third.

The outing was more impressive considering Gallardo pitched Friday with family matters in the back of his mind. A relative's illness called him home to Fort Worth, Texas, immediately after the game, but he is expected back Monday and will make his start as scheduled Wednesday against the Cubs.

"Everything was working," said catcher Martin Maldonado, who was so pleased with Gallardo's outing that he continued gushing to reporters outside the clubhouse.

"He had a great breaking ball going on, great life on the fastball," Maldonado said. "I think he got more confident lately. He's been working between starts, he's been prepared a lot better. He's been throwing the pitches where he has to -- he's not missing too many spots."

Said Roenicke: "That was probably the best curveball he's had all year."

Gallardo has also been helping himself in the batter's box. Friday's hit came amid a fourth-inning rally against Phillies starter Vance Worley that turned a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead, and all began with two outs. Hart singled for his second hit of the night and Maldonado walked before Morgan gave the Brewers the lead with a two-run triple that ticked off Phillies right fielder Brown's glove.

It was ruled a hit, bit Brown said it should have been the end of a scoreless inning.

"I got back there good. I just dropped it," Brown said. "I wanted to come up big right there for Vance. That play has to be made. It's as simple as that. I want to come up big for my teammates right there."

Worley intentionally walked Jean Segura, who stole second base before Gallardo dumped a single into right field for a 4-1 lead.

Gallardo has traditionally carried a potent bat that earned him the 2010 Silver Slugger Award, but his OPS slipped from .837 that season to .577 in '11, and was at .320 in '12 entering Friday's start despite his recent hot streak. Four of Gallardo's six RBIs have come in his last four games, all victories.

Has Roenicke noticed that Gallardo has begun hitting again?

"Yes, I have. I can't explain it," Roenicke said. "Last year when I came over, I heard how great of a hitter this guy was, and last year, he really didn't swing that well, and he didn't swing well at the beginning of this year, either. Now he's hitting the ball. I don't know -- he's hitting the ball and he's pitching well."

Braun's homer two innings later was his third in the past two games after a power drought that spanned 49 plate appearances. He leads the National League with 32 home runs.

Gallardo is expected to rejoin the Brewers on Monday afternoon, in time to throw a bullpen session.

"He needs to be back home," Roenicke said.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.