The Great Pitching Revival of 2011 continued Saturday night at Miller Park.
Yovani Gallardo kept the conga line going for the Milwaukee Brewers' starting rotation, pitching seven strong innings in a 6-2 victory over Houston that sent an overflow crowd of 44,306 home in good spirits.
Gallardo provided the 15th consecutive appearance in which a starter allowed three runs or fewer, a dramatic turnaround from past seasons when starting pitching regularly sabotaged the team.
"We all see what the guy in front of us is doing," said Gallardo, who boosted his record to 12-7 with a 3.69 earned run average. "We try to match each other.
"That's what good teams do. When the offense is struggling, the pitchers have to pick those guys up."
The fifth consecutive victory allowed the first-place Brewers to match their high-water mark of the season at 10 games above .500 (59-49) as well as maintain their 1½-game lead over St. Louis in the National League Central. Those five wins have come against the worst teams in the league, Chicago and Houston, but no one in the home clubhouse was apologizing afterward.
"This is a team you've got to beat to give ourselves more cushion," said centerfielder Nyjer Morgan. "These are the teams you've got to beat to get ready for the Cardinals (in the next series)."
The Brewers' offense showed a little more pep with 13 hits, including four by leadoff hitter Corey Hart. But they still needed some help with two errors from the Astros' awful defense, leading to three unearned runs.
Hart had struggled since being moved to the leadoff spot, batting .204 in 13 games. Afterward, manager Ron Roenicke admitted he was thinking about "tweaking" the lineup but isn't likely to make a change at the top after Hart's big game.
"When he gets hot, I don't know if it matters where he is in the lineup," said Roenicke. "We'll keep him in there as long as we can. We need somebody to really get hot. A few guys swung the bat well today."
Hart had hit into some hard outs of late, which is never satisfying statistically, and said he needed some support from hitting coach Dale Sveum to avoid the temptation to make changes.
Gallardo continues pitching roll
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Jul 31