Slowly but surely, Yovani Gallardo has progressed and matured into one of the best homegrown pitchers the Milwaukee Brewers have produced.

Over that past few weeks, however, the 25-year-old right-hander has moved to a new level of excellence.

"He's been great his whole career, but if you look at the last month he's really taken a step forward," said leftfielder Ryan Braun. "He has been dominant. He has thrown the ball better probably over the last month than I've ever seen, and I've seen him since we were in (Class) A ball together.

"I'd put him up there with any other ace in baseball."

The Arizona Diamondbacks certainly were not going to argue Saturday afternoon after Gallardo dominated them for eight innings to allow the Brewers to pull away to a 4-1 victory in Game 1 of the National League Division Series before an energized, packed house of 44,122 at Miller Park.