Gallardo, Brewers ride three homers past Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- The Milwaukee Brewers entered their series against the Pittsburgh Pirates with the league's third-worst ERA and having not allowed less than four runs in a game all season.

Wednesday, Yovani Gallardo gave them their second straight strong performance by a starter.

Gallardo had 10 strikeouts in five scoreless innings and the Brewers homered three times to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 on Wednesday, a night after Dave Bush threw seven shutout innings in an 8-1 win.

"It starts with starting pitching, and Bushy and Yovani really set the tone the past two days by throwing the ball great," said outfielder Ryan Braun, who had three hits and a walk.

Braun, Rickie Weeks and pinch-hitter Jody Gerut hit home runs and Alcides Escobar tripled in consecutive innings to tie a club record for triples in a game for Milwaukee, which has won three straight after a stretch of losing four of five.

Nine of the first 11 Pittsburgh batters Gallardo (1-2) retired were via strikeout. He allowed three hits and three walks before being lifted after throwing 103 pitches in five innings.

"He pitched around some guys, made some pitches, had some strikeouts and threw a lot of balls so he was over 100 [pitches] there in five innings, so you've got to get him out of there," Brewers manager Ken Macha said.

"[But] hey, look, they didn't get any runs, so let's be pleased with the outcome of tonight," Macha said.

Gallardo won for the first time this season -- the team has lost the Opening Day starter's three previous outings -- a day after Bush also won for the first time.

"The pitch count was up," Gallardo said. "But I think overall I threw the ball well and got a win out of it. That's the most important thing."

Zach Duke (2-1) allowed each of the Milwaukee homers, ultimately being charged with seven runs and seven hits in five-plus innings. He also walked four and struck out three.

Duke was attempting to become the first Pirates starter to begin a season 3-0 since Tom Gorzelanny in 2007.

"He was OK early on, but he got a little less sharp as the game went on," Pittsburgh manager John Russell said. "You're going to have those starts every once in a while that won't go exactly the way you want."

All eight Brewers position players had at least one hit, and each except Gregg Zaun had at least a run or an RBI. Escobar and Carlos Gomez each scored two runs.

After losing 8-0 in Washington on Saturday, Milwaukee has outscored its opponents 27-8.

"We had some internal conversations about having some fun again and just regaining our identity as being a fun-loving club," Gerut said.

Braun extended his hitting streak to nine games when he homered to left with nobody on in the first, his fourth of the season. He has hit safely in 13 of 14 games this season.

After scoring an unearned run in the fourth, the Brewers made it 5-0 in the fifth.

Weeks hit his third homer of the season with Escobar aboard and one out, and Gomez scored when Casey McGehee weakly chopped in front of the plate with the bases loaded four batters later.

Gerut's homer, his first and first in his career as a pinch-hitter, came on the first pitch he saw from Duke while batting for Gallardo just after Escobar's second triple in the sixth.

"I got away from the things that were making me have success early on in the game, and that was working ahead in the count and keeping the ball down," Duke said. "The fifth and sixth innings, I left balls up and was throwing from behind in the count. ... Against a team like the Brewers, that will hurt you."

Game notes
The Brewers are 35-12 against the Pirates since 2007, their best record against any opponent. ... Fielder, who broke a streak of 15 hitless at-bats with a single in the sixth, remains homerless through 53 at-bats this season, matching his career-worst start. ... McGehee had a ninth-inning double and scored, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games. ... Pirates infielder Argenis Diaz, called up earlier in the day, made his majors debut when he grounded out in the ninth.