Gallardo shuts down Pirates as Brewers cruise 6-0
Yovani Gallardo gave up just two hits over 6 2-3 innings and the surging Milwaukee Brewers dropped the weary Pittsburgh Pirates 6-0 on Tuesday night.
Gallardo (16-8) struck out six and walked four to win his eighth straight decision as Milwaukee moved in front of fading Pittsburgh in the jumbled National League wild-card race. The teams entered the day 2 1-2 games back of the Cardinals, who played Houston later.
Ryan Braun had two hits, drove in a run and stole three bases for the Brewers, who have won six of seven. Milwaukee's seven stolen bases were the most by the franchise since it moved to the National League in 1998. Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy had three hits apiece for the Brewers.
A.J. Burnett (15-8) gave up two runs in six innings but couldn't stop Pittsburgh's late season swoon. The Pirates are 4-12 this month.
While the Pirates have stumbled, the Brewers have surged. Milwaukee trailed Pittsburgh by nine games during its last visit to PNC Park in late August, though Pittsburgh appeared to at least get some stability on Monday night during a 3-0 win in Chicago.
The Pirates waited out rain delay of more than three hours before taking care of the Cubs and didn't get home until 5:40 a.m.
Manager Clint Hurdle let his players arrive later than usual to the ballpark after the long night. The extra rest didn't help.
Gallardo has thrived as the team's No. 1 starter since Zack Greinke was traded to the Los Angeles Angels. The right-hander had little trouble extending his hot streak against the Pirates, who appeared only eager to get back home and crawl in bed.
The Brewers escaped a bases-loaded two-out jam in the second when Gallardo got Burnett to ground out to second.
Pittsburgh didn't get another base runner until the seventh, and by then Milwaukee had raced to a 4-0 lead.
The night followed a similar theme. The Brewers would get on base with a single - all 13 of their hits were singles - then get into scoring position by taking off for second at the first opportunity.
Eventually, the greed turned into runs.
During one sequence in the seventh, Weeks singled with one out then stole second and raced home on a single by Braun. The reigning NL MVP then stole second and came home on a single up the middle by Lucroy to make it 4-0.
Pittsburgh briefly had a chance to get back in it in the bottom of the inning, using a single, an error and a walk to load the bases. Gallardo gave way to reliever Jonathan Henderson, who got pinch-hitter Mike McKenry to pop to shallow right field.
Milwaukee tacked on two more runs in the eighth, sparked by a single and stolen base by Gomez. It was the seventh of the night for the Brewers, the most since the club joined the NL and the second most in team history. The team record for stolen bases in a single game is eight set against the Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 28, 1992.
That's the same year the Pirates won the NL East, the last time the franchise finished with a winning record.
Six weeks ago, it appeared Pittsburgh's streak of 19 straight losing seasons would end when the Pirates moved 16 games over .500 on Aug. 6. They're just 12-27 since.
Burnett did his part but failed in his bid to become the first Pittsburgh starter to win 16 games since 1991. He overcame some early command issues - he hit two batters - to give the Pirates six serviceable innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts.
NOTES: The series continues on Wednesday with Milwaukee's Marco Estrada (3-6, 3.77 ERA) facing Pittsburgh's Kyle McPherson (0-0, 1.54 ERA), who will be making his first major league start ... The Pirates reached a two-year agreement with the Jamestown Jammers of the New York-Penn League for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
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