If the Milwaukee Brewers do nothing better over the final month and a half of this disappointing season than get Yovani Gallardo squared away and feeling good about himself they will consider it a success.

Gallardo made a triumphant return Saturday night from a hamstring strain that landed him on the 15-day disabled list pitching 61/3 scoreless innings to lead the Brewers past the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 at Miller Park.

Considering how badly Gallardo struggled at times before going on the DL (8-9 4.91 earned run average going into the game) manager Ron Roenicke couldn't tell a lie afterward when asked if he was surprised at how well his starter threw the ball.

"Yeah I was" said Roenicke. "To be out that long and come back with that kind of command with all of his pitches — his cutter was really good fastball located well threw some nice curveballs — being out that long and coming back like that pleasantly surprised."

Gallardo's declining velocity has been well chronicled over the past two seasons and he has scuffled with his command pitching too often behind in the count and running up high pitch totals. He appeared headed down that path again in the first inning by going 3-2 on all three hitters though striking out the latter two.

"That first inning with three 3-2 counts that's obviously not the way you want to start" said Gallardo who allowed three hits and two walks before departing. "But I was able to get everything working after that.

"The main thing is let the guys swing the bat and keep the ball down move the ball around. Being out for a couple of weeks the main thing is finding a rhythm."

Gallardo has admitted to being frustrated at times by not pitching as well as he had the previous four seasons when he went 60-38 with a 3.68 ERA. Accordingly he is focused on a strong kick to the wire.

"It obviously hasn't been the year I wanted to have" he said. "But that's in the past. I'm just focusing on a fresh start. Today was a good step forward. Over the last month and a half of the season however many starts I have just go out there and finish strong and be consistent."

Roenicke said he had determined beforehand that he wouldn't press Gallardo his first time off the DL. Accordingly he lifted his starter in the seventh with his pitch count at 82 an economical total for Gallardo.

"It wasn't a question that Yo wasn't throwing the ball well" said Roenicke. "It was (the number of) pitches. We were wondering whether to send him back out for the seventh. We knew we were going to be short with him."