MILWAUKEE (AP) – Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo couldn’t have picked a better spot for the first pinch hit of his career.
Gallardo delivered a double that drove home the winning run with two outs in the 10th inning Tuesday night, foiling Baltimore’s strategy and sending the Brewers to a 7-6 victory over the Orioles.
“We work on it for that type of situation,” said Gallardo, who stepped to the plate with a career batting average of .202 with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs over eight seasons. “That’s one of the reasons we’re out there hitting every day before the position players, because you never know. Whether it be as simple as getting a bunt down or getting a guy over to third base or whatever.”
With the pitcher’s spot on deck and knowing Milwaukee was out of position players, the Orioles intentionally walked power-hitting Mark Reynolds with two outs and no one on base in the 10th. Reynolds had hit his 12th homer earlier.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke then sent up Gallardo – a starting pitcher who was 1 for 14 this season – to bat for reliever Francisco Rodriguez (2-1).
Gallardo drove a 2-0 pitch from T.J. McFarland (0-1) to deep center field to win it.
“I was just trying to get a ball out over the plate,” said Gallardo, hitless in four previous pinch-hit appearances. “When he fell down 2-0, just try and put a good swing on it. Put the ball in play and see what happens. The pitch wasn’t where he wanted it, I’m pretty sure, but I was able to make good contact.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he thought maybe the Brewers would use another pitcher to hit because Gallardo was scheduled to start Wednesday’s series finale.
“We were well aware that Gallardo is one of their better hitters,” Showalter said. “There are some decent hitting pitchers over here, we knew that coming in. I was hoping (Gallardo) had gone home to get ready for tomorrow. We knew he was over there. ”
The Brewers blew an early 5-0 lead, but tied it at 6 with two outs in the ninth on an infield single by Jonathan Lucroy.
Lyle Overbay singled to open the ninth and Jean Segura sacrificed pinch-runner Elian Herrera to second. Ryan Braun’s groundout sent Herrera to third, and he scored when Lucroy hit a chopper and barely beat third baseman Manny Machado’s throw to first.
“If I was to go back out there, I’d throw the same pitch, same location,” reliever Zach Britton said. “You hope maybe (Lucroy) hits the ball a little harder, Manny gets there a little quicker. That is just about it. That is just not the way it was today. ”
The Orioles took a 6-5 lead in the seventh on pinch-hitter Steve Pearce’s three-run homer.
Nelson Cruz hit his major league-leading 17th homer in the Baltimore fifth. He walked to open the seventh, and an error by Segura on his flip from shortstop set up Pearce’s homer off Matt Garza.
The Brewers, who blew a 6-4 lead in the ninth inning on Monday and lost to the Orioles in the 10th, powered their way to early lead.
Carlos Gomez hit a three-run homer and solo shots by Reynolds and Khris Davis, all off starter Wei-Yin Chen, made it 5-0 through the fourth.
NOTES: Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez, on the DL since May 13 with a left hamstring injury, fielded grounders before the game. “It felt good. I took like 20-25 groundballs,” he said. “I am going to take it day by day and when I am ready, I am ready.” … Brewers reliever Jim Henderson, on the DL with inflammation in his right shoulder, received a cortisone injection. “Hopefully that clears it up a bit more,” said Henderson, who experienced discomfort in his shoulder during his minor league rehab assignment on Friday. “We need to free it up and be pain-free and then we’ll be good to go, really. I’m going to just ice it and make sure the injection stays in there and does its work. Then we can get back to strengthening it and exercising again.” … Gomez extended his hitting streak to eight games. … Lucroy doubled in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to nine games, the Brewers’ longest this season. … Before the game, the Orioles activated 1B Chris Davis from the paternity list and optioned C Steve Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk. Davis went 0 for 4.