PHOENIX -- The Brewers built another big lead, and this time they held it. Yovani Gallardo pitched six shutout innings and hit his first career home run as the Brewers beat up on old teammate Doug Davis and the Diamondbacks, 9-0, on Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Chase Field. "It was a good start," said Brewers manager Ned Yost.More
As in, the manager is looking for more days like Monday and fewer like Sunday, when his Brewers built a 5-0 lead only to lose to the Reds. In the opener of a crucial three-city, nine-game road trip that includes three games next week against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Bill Hall hit a three-run home run in the first inning, and Gallardo and Prince Fielder took Davis (10-11) deep in the second. Milwaukee pulled back into a virtual tie with the Cubs atop the National League Central, though the Cubs are percentage points ahead. Fielder's home run was his NL-best 39th of the season, and he added a three-run double in the fourth inning to match his career high with four RBIs. "I think that was the biggest play of the game," said Hall, who homered for the second straight game. "That broke the game open. We've been getting the business about 'adding on,' how we get out to big leads and then we're not scoring anymore. That double from Prince kind of broke their backs a little bit." It was a bounce-back win for the team and also for Gallardo (5-3), who had surrendered 18 runs and 21 hits over his two previous starts. This time he limited Arizona to no runs on five hits and one walk, striking out six in six innings. "He had two starts where he got rocked a little bit, but he came out [Monday] night and showed no signs of that," Hall said. "That's the kind of pitcher he is, the kind of personality he has. He never gives up on himself." A big lead never hurts. "The last two [starts] weren't very good, but tonight I could relax a little bit instead of rushing to the plate like I was doing the last few starts," Gallardo said. "I was able to throw the curveball for a strike, the changeup, slider. Overall, it was a great day." Said Yost: "He wasn't razor-sharp, but he was good enough to get through six shutout innings. "It's all about execution. He's got the quality pitches, he just [needs to] execute them in quality spots in the strike zone." Rickie Weeks had three hits to lead the Brewers, and Fielder's four RBIs matched his total from May 4 against the Pirates. Davis, traded to Arizona last November in a deal that netted Johnny Estrada and Claudio Vargas, was tagged with six earned runs on six hits, including the three Brewers homers in two innings of work. It was the first loss since July 5 for the left-hander, who had won his previous five decisions. With the game out of hand, another former Brewer was called on to pitch the ninth. It was 37-year-old infielder Jeff Cirillo, Milwaukee's all-time batting average leader, who issued a pair of walks but worked a scoreless inning, including a strikeout of Craig Counsell. "It was totally out of the blue," Cirillo said. "[Arizona manager Bob Melvin] came to me after the top of the eighth and said, 'If the score [stays] the same, do you want to pitch the ninth?' I said, 'Yeah. I've been wanting to do that for 14 years.'" Cirillo impressed the Brewers. "He's way nastier than I thought he would be," said Hall, who worked one of the walks. "I was shocked when I got up there. He's got a knuckleball, a slider, he was throwing some changeups. Those pitches make 84, 83 [mph fastballs] look pretty hard. I heard he was a better pitcher in college than he was a hitter." It was a pressure-packed plate appearance. "Nobody wants to [make an] out against a position player," Hall said. "I was trying to stay as focused as possible. Especially Cirillo. I'm sure my phone would have been blowing up tonight if he had gotten me out." Brewers reliever Carlos Villanueva worked the final three innings in relief of Gallardo for his first Major League save but was optioned to Triple-A Nashville after the game.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less