Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Sunday’s deciding game of the Brewers series against the Pirates pitched Yovani Gallardo (3-4, 4.08ERA) against Jeff Locke (0-0, 10.13 ERA). Locke had only made one previous appearance this season on 5th May, against the Giants. He was rocked for 6ER’s in 5 1/3 innings. However, Locke holds a more respectable 4.20 ERA in 43 major league starts since 2011.
A quick 1-2-3 top half of the inning for the Brewers, including an early K for Ryan Braun. Gallardo starts out his day by hitting Neil Walker after retiring the leadoff man. Gallardo then induced a possible inning ending line out, missed by Weeks (scored as a hit), leading to 1st and 3rd with only one man out. However, Gallardo does get out of the inning with a double play. Braun cutting down Walker at the plate with a rocket from right field after a fly out by Gaby Sanchez.
Locke cruised along early, retiring the side in order for the Pirates. Gallardo quickly back to the mound, recording strikeouts of Russell Martin and Pedro Alvarez to lead off, before an error charged to Jean Segura on a routine grounder put Starlin Marte at first base. However, Gallardo gets out of the inning inducing a shallow fly out from Jordy Mercer.
Nine up, nine down for the Brewers as Locke motored along, 29 pitches through three. Locke led off the bottom half of the inning with a single to left. Gallardo retired Josh Harrison, before issuing a walk to Neil Walker. Gallardo retired the next two batters, despite a long battle with Andrew McCutchen. Up to 57 pitches.
Jonathan Lucroy finally ends Locke’s dominance, running out and infield single with two away, before stealing second. A Carlos Gomez single moves Lucroy to third, but Aramis Ramirez flies out to shallow centre field to end the threat. Gallardo hit Martin to lead off the inning, but quickly eliminated the runner with a ground ball double play. A strike out of struggling Starlin Marte ends the inning.
Locke started off with a strikeout of Khris Davis, before issuing a free pass to Weeks, who was then caught stealing 2nd base before Reynolds follows in the footsteps of Davis. Finally a quick 1-2-3 inning for Gallardo. Scoreless through five innings.
Gallardo leads off for the Crew, but becomes the sixth strikeout victim for Locke. A fourth 1-2-3 inning for Locke, who has been almost unhittable so far. Walker retired for the first time, followed by McCutchen on Gallardo’s sixth and seventh strikeouts. The inning ends with a Gaby Sanchez ground out to second base. Gallardo up to 98 pitches.
A positive start for the Brewers in 7th as Lucroy singles, before advancing on fan interference as the ball rolls up against the fence in left field. The Brewers move a runner to third for first time today, with Lucroy tagging on a deep fly ball out by Gomez. Ramirez is then able to get a run in on a dribbler down the 1st base line as Lucroy charges home. Davis flies out to end the inning, but the Crew finally lead 1-0.
Martin leads off the Pittsburgh half of the inning with a soft single, followed by an Alvarez fielders choice at 2nd, beaten out by Martin. Two on, nobody out. Marte moves Martin over to third on a fly out to Braun. The Pirates try the safety squeeze and Martin scores easily as the ball rolls foul to move the runners back and no run. A defensive miscue with nobody covering first base means a bunt single for Jordy Mercer to load the bases. Jose Tabata steps to the plate to replace Locke who has thrown only 75 pitches and becomes Gallardo’s 8th strikeout victim. Despite 118 pitches, Gallardo stays in to retire Josh Harrison to escape a huge jam. An outstanding effort by Gallardo. 7 innings, 121 pitches, 4 hits, 0 runs.
Tony Watson replaced Locke to pitch for Pittsburgh, completing a routine 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom half, the Brewers bring in Rob Wooten who retires the first batter he faces, before a McCutchen gapper gives him a double to put a runner in scoring position. The second out of the inning moves McCutchen across to third, before Ron Roenicke brings in Francisco Rodriguez for the 4 out save, starting the fireworks. Martin strikes out to end a seven pitch battle, and explodes in front of home plate umpire Ed Hickox, hurling his bat to the floor. Martin and his skipper Clint Hurdle both ejected as the inning ends.
After all the controversy the Pirates closer Jason Grilli steps in to face the top of the Brewers line up who fail to add an insurance for K-Rod, despite a ground-rule double for Lucroy.
Segura throws out Alvarez to lead off the ninth for the Pirates, before a walk is issued to base stealer Marte. Marte takes off and is gunned down by Lucroy, but a missed tag means stolen base is given on review and puts the tying run at 2nd for the Pirates. Ike Davis reaches on a second walk of the inning to put the winning run on base for another pinch hitter in Travis Snider. Snider out on web gem play by Segura to save a run and keep the Brewers in front. The final out of Josh Harrison is recorded on a shallow fly ball to Gomez and the Crew escape another late inning jam.
A really precious win for the Brewers in a game that was tight from the first pitch. Locke will wonder how he has ended up picking up the loss, but several outstanding Segura plays in the infield have kept hold of the 1-0 victory. Gallardo was outstanding in 7 stellar innings, despite a high early pitch count. The Brewers can now enjoy their rest day before moving on to New York.
1st star: Yovani Gallardo – 7 superb innings after a slow start
2nd star: Jonathan Lucroy – 3-4 with two doubles and the only run of the game
3rd star: Jean Segura – several outstanding defensive plays