MILWAUKEE – Yovani Gallardo pitched like an ace for the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.
Gallardo, who came off the disabled list Friday, gave up three hits in 6 1/3 innings to lead the Brewers to a 2-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
Gallardo, who strained his left hamstring July 30, did not give up a hit until the fourth inning when Brandon Phillips singled after Joey Votto walked.
But Phillips was caught in a rundown after the ball got away from Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
He threw just 82 pitches even though it took him 18 pitches to get out of the first inning.
“I felt really good tonight,” he said. “I was able to get everything working.”
Gallardo (9-9) has struggled at times this season, posting a career-high 4.68 ERA. He had also lost five of his past seven home starts prior to Saturday.
“Obviously it has not been the year I wanted to have,” he said. “But that is in the past. My focus is on finishing the season strong and today was a good step forward.”
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he was pleased that Gallardo pitched as well as he did after coming off the disabled list.
“To be out that long and to come back with that kind of command, I was pleasantly surprised,” he said. “This was really good to see.”
The other star of the night for the Brewers was center fielder Logan Schafer, who broke out of a 0-for-21 slump with a two-run double.
Schafer said he was just happy to get a hit after his recent struggles at the plate.
“It’s always nice when you hit the ball where they’re not,” he said. “I was looking for something up and over the plate so I could drive it. It felt good to contribute to a win.”
The Reds threatened to score in the seventh inning as Gallardo gave up a one-out single to Phillips.
Gallardo was replaced by Brandon Kintzler, who gave up consecutive singles to Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick. But Kintzler got pinch hitter Xavier Paul to ground into a double play to end the inning.
“We had the right guy up there against the right kind of pitcher. He hit the ball hard, but right to him and it’s a double play,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Kintzler pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Jim Henderson struck out the side in the ninth for his 18th save in 21 chances.
Mat Latos (12-4) pitched seven innings for the Reds, giving up two runs and six hits. The two runs he gave up in the fourth inning snapped his scoreless streak at 19 innings. Lotus’ career high is 21 consecutive shutout innings, most recently accomplished April 19 to May 5.
Baker said Cincinnati hitters did not give Latos much room for error by not scoring any runs.
“He had some trouble out there and his pitch count got kind of high in the middle, but he gave us a chance to win,” he said. “We had bases loaded a couple times, but we couldn’t keep the ball off the ground, hitting into a double play.”
The Brewers scored the only runs of the game in the fourth inning. Khris Davis and Scooter Bennett singled with two outs. Schafer followed with a double to right field to score both runners.