13’ unlucky for Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers wanted to keep their young right-handed ace’s innings and pitches in check now that the team is out of playoff contention.
In his first start since Sept. 5, Gallardo wasn’t in danger of throwing too many innings, but it did appear he might make up for all those lost pitches by laboring through his latest outing.
Easy innings were hard to come by, and Gallardo never faced fewer than four batters in an inning as his pitch count ballooned.
The Chicago Cubs tagged him just enough to secure a 13-7 victory Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, taking the first two games of the four-game series and showing that Gallardo had some rust to work off after his nine-day layoff.
Gallado’s previous start came after two extra days of rest and he was sharp. However, more than a week’s rest proved to be too much down time for the Brewers’ ace.
Gallardo pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed seven runs on seven hits and five walks. He struck out five and threw 107 pitches, 58 for strikes.
As soon as the game started, I never was quite able to find my release point. Make one good pitch, I’d do the same thing. I just really couldn’t find my release point,” said Gallardo. “I just couldn’t locate my fastball. For some reason I just left fastballs over the plate.”
Manager Ken Macha said before the game he wasn’t sure how Gallardo would react after the long rest, and what he saw couldn’t have made him smile much.
Gallardo’s stuff had movement, but he couldn’t command anything. His pitches were erratic and the Cubs, one of baseball’s best teams at seeing pitches, took full advantage.
And it wasn’t just Gallardo. The bullpen had problems identifying the strike zone, too. The Brewers walked or hit 15 batters, seven of which scored for the Cubs. The Cubs also had four runs “batted” in on two walks and two hit by pitches.
Gallardo’s evening started well with a strikeout and fly-out from the first two hitters, but the Cubs eventually loaded the bases before Gallardo struck out Milton Bradley.
Mike Fontenot walked to start the second and he scored on Ryan Theriot’s two-out single.
Gallardo walked five batters and three scored, the second being Theriot, who came home on Derrek Lee’s two-run double in the fourth that also scored Bobby Scales. Gallardo also gave up a sacrifice fly to Carlos Zambrano in the inning to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead.
The Brewers were able to stage a comeback in the fifth, scoring five times after the first two batters in the inning went down.
Gallardo got it going with a single and, after Felipe Lopez walked, Corey Hart blasted a single off the center-field wall to score both.
Ryan Braun singled him in and after Prince Fielder was intentionally walked, Mike Cameron delivered a two-run hit up the middle to give the Brewers a 5-4 advantage.
The hope was Gallardo could settle in after that.
No such luck.
The lead was immediately erased by Geovany Soto, who launched a fastball up in the zone over the left-field ivy to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.
Gallardo didn’t last much longer.
After getting Zambrano to start the sixth, Gallardo walked Theriot and hit Kosuke Fukudome.
Macha had seen enough and lifted Gallardo. It didn’t matter, though, because the Cubs went on to bombard the Brewers in the inning. Todd Coffey walked Lee to load the bases before he hit Aramis Ramirez to score a run.
Soto then hit a two-run single.
before a throwing error by Prince Fielder and a single by Fontenot scored two more in a disastrous five-run inning.
“I’m just pretty embarrassed with the way I threw the ball tonight,” Coffey said. “Obviously I can’t walk a guy and hit a guy with bases loaded and put the run in. The loss is on me tonight. That’s unacceptable.”
The Cubs scored two more times in the seventh when Chris Smith walked in a run and hit Bradley with the bases loaded to score another.