Brewers power up to pound Pirates
MILWAUKEE -- Yovani Gallardo did it all in Milwaukee's latest blowout of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Gallardo pitched six strong innings and drove in three runs, Gregg Zaun matched career highs with four hits and five RBIs and the Brewers extended their mastery of Pittsburgh with a 17-3 victory Monday night.
The Brewers have outscored the Pirates 53-4 in their last four meetings, including a three-game sweep in Pittsburgh last week during which Milwaukee outscored the Pirates 36-1 -- including a 20-0 rout on Thursday.
"I just got off a weekend where we were on the other end of that," Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said, referencing the Chicago Cubs' three-game sweep of the Brewers. "We respect every team we play. It's just how teams kind of match up against each other."
It was the seventh straight defeat for Pittsburgh. The Pirates have lost to the Brewers 22 straight times at Miller Park and are 12-37 against Milwaukee overall since 2007.
The Brewers' home winning streak against Pittsburgh is the longest by one team over another since the Indians beat the St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles 27 consecutive times from 1952-54.
"I can't explain it," Pittsburgh starter Zach Duke said.
The Pirates held a 30-minute, closed-door meeting after the game.
"At some point it's got to turn around," manager John Russell said. "It's a young team, and they need to decide when they want to do that. It's not just Milwaukee -- everyone's kicking us right now."
Casey McGehee hit a grand slam in a nine-run eighth that also included a two-run homer by Alcides Escobar and a two-run double by Zaun.
Gallardo (2-2) gave up two runs, none earned, and five hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked three.
Duke (2-2) allowed eight earned runs and nine hits in four innings. Milwaukee tallied 17 hits in all.
"We have to find a way to beat the Cubs. Those guys and St. Louis are the teams that everybody is picking to finish ahead of us. So if we want to be playing in October, we have got to figure out a way to beat them," Zaun said. "But that doesn't take away from the fact that we've played some really good baseball against Pittsburgh, and if we want to play meaningful baseball later on in the season, we have got to continue doing what we're doing against Pittsburgh."
The Brewers were looking to rebound after Chicago outscored them 25-4 in three games last weekend. They had their ace on the mound, and at the plate, to do it.
Gallardo was 0 for 8 on the season and a career .183 hitter, but he has some pop: His four career home runs are the most in Brewers history for a pitcher.
He showed it in the second with a two-out, two-run double to score McGehee and Zaun, who had walked, to make it 2-0.
The Brewers sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs in the third, including a three-run double by Zaun, who was batting .157 coming into the game, and an RBI single by Gallardo.
"Six walks. I just couldn't get anybody out when I needed to," Duke said. "It's frustrating. It's only 19 games into the season, but we've been through a lot of adversity already."
Milwaukee sent 12 batters to the plate in the nine-run eighth, which McGehee capped with his second career slam.
"At least I have a batting average now," Gallardo said. "I just wanted to help myself out. It's a great feeling to go up there and get a hit."
Zaun was just as happy to find success at the plate.
"It wasn't one of those things where I was wondering, 'Am I ever going to get a hit again?' I knew why I wasn't getting hits," he said. "It was plain to see. I was really jumping at the pitcher, and a lot of that had to do with trying to do too much. I was swinging at a lot of bad pitches early in the season, making really bad contact."
Zaun also had a bizarre night behind the plate. Three times in the first inning he threw wildly past Gallardo, and infielders had to retrieve the ball each time. On his next accurate throw, he drew a mock cheer from the crowd.
There was a scary moment in the fourth when Escobar's bat shattered after he grounded out, and the sharp barrel flew into the stands and struck a boy in the head.
A Brewers spokesman said the boy was checked out at first aid and was fine.
Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington said the team will call up RHP Jeff Karstens from Triple-A Indianapolis to start Tuesday night. OF John Raynor will be designated for assignment. ... Zaun has had four hits and five RBIs three times each in his career. ... Jeff Suppan, demoted from Milwaukee's starting rotation Sunday, pitched the ninth in his first relief appearance since Aug. 26, 2003, with Boston.
PIT Wins 2-1
- Home Plate Umpire - Tim Welke
- First Base Umpire - Sam Holbrook
- Second Base Umpire - D.J. Reyburn
- Third Base Umpire - Mike Dimuro