Fri. Final: Brewers 5, Giants 1
By Todd Welter
Next game: Saturday, June 27 vs. San Francisco
Yovani Gallardo was near flawless while Ryan Braun and J.J. Hardy combined to help the Brewers do something not many teams do--knock around Matt Cain. The Brewers topped the San Francisco Giants 5-1 at Miller Park as the Crew won for just the second time in seven games.
Cain has been a dominant force on the mound for the Giants this season. He came into the contest with a 9-1 record and 2.28 ERA. Cain left Miller Park with slightly inflated numbers as he gave up an uncharacteristic five runs on six hits. It was just the second time this season Cain has given up five runs and only the fourth time this season he gave up more than three runs.
"We knew runs were going to be tough to come by," Braun said. "We put together some good at-bats. I think we scored almost every time we had guys in scoring position so against a guy like that you have to take advantage of every opportunity you can get."
Braun and Hardy were the most opportunistic against Cain. Braun went 2-for-4 with a run and 2RBI while Hardy went 2-for-4 with a home run and a single. The hope is Hardy's night is just the type of performance he needs to snap out of this funk he has been in all season.
"I hope tonight is a start of a lot of good things to come," Hardy felt. "It is just a matter of feeling good and I think I am getting closer to that."
Maybe changing his at-bat music worked as well as both Braun and Hardy decided to go with some different at-bat music. Braun went with Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" as a tribute to the fallen icon while Hardy went with a little country music.
"Mentally it is kind of refreshing, you feel like you got a fresh start," Braun explained. "I'm sticking with Michael."
Cain (9-2) did have nine strikeouts along with four walks as he was handed just his second loss of the season.
While Cain struggled, Gallardo (8-4) was the model of control on his way towards his eighth win of the season. Gallardo pitched 7.2-dominant innings as the only mistake he made was giving up a home run ball to Pablo Sandoval in the first inning. Gallardo cruised from that point as he retired 21 of the final 28 batters he faced including a stretch where he retired 16 batters in a row. Gallardo gave up just four hits, walked three and struck out nine.
"I was able to place my fastball where ever I wanted," Gallardo described.
Outshining another young pitching stud may have finally officially put Gallardo in that ace status.
"I think he has earned it," Braun felt. "Based on the circumstances that we are in right now with starting pitching, it is that much more important for us to win every time he does start. He has been our guy."
The Brewers helped Gallardo out early as they countered Sandoval's first-inning home run with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Craig Counsell led off the inning with a triple and came home on Braun's RBI double. Braun plated himself a run on Casey McGehee's RBI double.
"We were able to get some runs up on the board and I was able to hold them there," Gallardo said.
McGehee continues to swing a hot bat as he is hitting .378 with three home runs and 15RBI over his last 26 games.
Hardy picked up his 500th career hit with a third-inning blast to deep center that gave the Crew a 3-1 lead. The Brewers plated two more runs in the fifth as Cain loaded up the bases with walks to Gallardo and Counsell and an infield hit by Hardy. Braun brought Gallardo home with a single and Prince Fielder drove in Counsell with a sacrifice fly to left.