Yovani Gallardo returned from a strained left hamstring and turned in one of his best outings of an up-and-down season, working 6.1 shutout innings as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds for the second straight night, this time by a 2-0 count on Saturday night at Miller Park.
Gallardo is now 9-9 in 24 starts, with a 4.68 ERA. He retired the first 11 hitters he faced and left in the seventh inning after throwing 82 pitches. Fox Sports Wisconsin said before the game that manager Ron Roenicke was going to keep a close eye on Gallardo after he reached the 75-pitch mark.
Brandon Phillips lined a one-out single to center and Roenicke brought in right-hander Brandon Kintzler, who has emerged in his second season as one of the Brewers’ best relievers. Kintzler surrendered back-to-back hits to Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick, but then induced a double-play grounder from pinch-hitter Xavier Paul to end the threat.
Kintzler worked a perfect eighth and turned it over to closer Jim Henderson, who struck out Todd Frazier, Joey Votto and Phillips in order to log his 18th save in 21 opportunities.
The Brewers were the last team in baseball to record a shutout, notching their first on June 15 in a 6-0 win at Cincinnati. Saturday night’s whitewashing of the Reds was their 11th in the last two months.
Kintzler’s 1.2 scoreless innings extended his scoreless streak to 20.1 innings over his last 17 appearances. He has dropped his ERA from 3.72 to 2.38 in the process.
Mat Latos (12-4) was the hard-luck loser for Cincinnati, taking his first loss since the All-Star break. He had been 4-0 in five starts since the break, but ran into trouble with two gone in the fourth.
Some of the youngsters getting an opportunity to show the organization what they can do teamed up to put Milwaukee’s only runs on the board. Khris Davis lined a two-out single to center and Scooter Gennett slapped a base hit the opposite way. Logan Schafer, starting in center field for the second straight night in place of injured All-Star Carlos Gomez, broke a 0-for-21 slump by cracking a one-hop double off the right-field wall to score both runners.
That was all the run support Gallardo and the bullpen would need.
The teams traded baserunning blunders early in the game.
The Brewers had runners at first and second in the bottom of the third after back-to-back singles by Norichika Aoki and Jean Segura with one out. On a full-count offering from Latos, Jonathan Lucroy lofted a routine fly ball to right field. But the runners broke on the pitch and Segura, perhaps not realizing there was only one out, never looked up and was doubled off first easily by Bruce.
The Reds returned the favor in the top of the fourth. After setting down the first 11 hitters in order, Gallardo walked Votto and Phillips followed with a single to center. With Bruce at the plate, Gallardo spun a breaking ball into the dirt that only got a couple of feet away from Lucroy. But Phillips strayed too far off first and was eventually caught in a rundown to end the inning.
Milwaukee has won four of its last six meetings with Cincinnati after the Reds took five of the first six. Wily Peralta (8-12) takes the ball for the Crew on Sunday with a chance to wrap up Milwaukee’s second straight series win over the Reds. Homer Bailey (7-10) is scheduled to start for Cincinnati, with first pitch scheduled from Miller Park at 1:10 p.m. Central Time. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Wisconsin.
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