MILWAUKEE (AP) – Yovani Gallardo sauntered through the clubhouse holding the barrel end of a bat, then headed down a hallway before his start against the Baltimore Orioles.
No game-ending hit needed Wednesday night. This time, he earned a victory on the mound.
The Milwaukee right-hander struggled through 6 2-3 innings, but got backed up by Ryan Braun’s early two-run double and Khris Davis’ three-run homer in the eighth to beat Baltimore 8-3.
On Tuesday night, Gallardo delivered a game-winning RBI double as a pinch-hitter in the 10th inning. He went 1 for 2 on Wednesday, though the rest of the lineup took care of the offense.
“To add on late like that – huge,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “We keep waiting for one of those and we got it.”
Gallardo (3-3) overcame two solo shots by Nelson Cruz, who leads the majors with 19 home runs. He gave up three runs on four hits and five walks in 6 2-3 innings for his first victory since April 6, a span of nine starts.
Gallardo walked the bases loaded in the fourth with two outs, escaping by getting Jonathan Schoop to ground out. Gallardo said he was rushing through his delivery at times in the evening, and catcher Jonathan Lucroy went out several times to try to refocus his pitcher.
“Obviously three walks in a row is never good,” Gallardo said. “But I was able to make a pitch whenever I needed to get out of it.”
Gallardo left after Nick Markakis doubled with two outs in the seventh. Markakis scored on Manny Machado’s single off reliever Brandon Kintzler to get Baltimore within 4-3.
Adam Jones added another single, and lefty reliever Will Smith made a wild pickoff throw to put runners at second and third with Orioles slugger Chris Davis up. But Smith, the setup man with a potent slider, struck out Davis swinging. He sandwiched three more strikeouts around a hit in the eighth to cap his 1 1-3 scoreless innings.
The Brewers broke away in the eighth off relievers Brad Brach and Brian Matusz. Pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks singled to left past a drawn-in infield and Khris Davis’ high fly off Matusz then sailed around the left-field pole for the 8-3 lead.
“We let that eighth inning get away from us. I liked our chances there if we could have held it to one run,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Davis hit his ninth homer of the year, and third in three games. No, he wasn’t trying to outshine the Baltimore’s more notable power-hitting Davis.
“I know how to hit, that’s what I love to do the most,” said the Brewers’ Davis, who extended his hitting streak to seven. “As long as I keep loving it, the game’s going to love me back.”
Cruz has taken a liking himself to Miller Park after hitting three homers in two games. His second homer Wednesday went more than 400 feet to dead center, and Cruz pointed two fingers skyward after crossing the plate before bumping fists with a smiling Machado at the dugout steps.
“Nellie, he’s a perennial hitter,” Orioles starter Bud Norris said. “We’ve seen him for years in other leagues and everything else, but to have him over here in Baltimore’s been outstanding.”
The NL Central-leading Brewers took two of three in the teams’ first interleague meeting since 2008.
The Brewers had the early advantage against Norris (3-5), who allowed four runs, five hits and three walks in six innings. Braun hit a hard chopper down the first-base line for his two-out double with runners on second and third.
Braun and Carlos Gomez each had two hits and a stolen base for Milwaukee.