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Yovani Gallardo Not Great, But Good Enough As Brewers Beat Pirates 5-2

W: Yovani Gallardo (4-2)
L: James McDonald (2-3)
S: John Axford (8)

HR: Jonathan Lucroy (2), Ronny Cedeno (1)

MVP: Yovani Gallardo (+.097 pitching, +.137 hitting for +.234)
LVP: Carlos Gomez (-.118)

Win Expectancy Graph and Star of the Game Voting

Today wasn't Yovani Gallardo's best day, but it was good enough. He allowed two runs on five hits and three walks over six innings, striking out five. A relatively familiar problem lifted him from the game relatively early, though: Despite needing just seven pitches to complete the first and sixth innings, his pitch count was up to 104 after six innings and necessitated his removal.

Gallardo also helped his own cause at the plate, going 2-for-3 and driving in the Brewers' third run with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth. He's been asked to bunt more than once this year in similar situations, so the strategic shift was notable.

And, as it turns out, the decision paid immediate dividends. The fact that Gallardo didn't make an out meant Ryan Braun got to bat with the bases loaded and two out in the fourth, and he hit a two run single to give the Brewers a 5-2 lead. Braun went 1-for-4 in the game, but also stole two bases and drove in three runs.

If you had told me in February I'd be writing this line in May, I might have laughed out loud: The Brewers got a great performance in relief from Marco Estrada tonight. He pitched the seventh and eighth innings and retired six batters in order, striking out three. John Axford took the ball in the ninth and pitched a perfect frame to close it out.

The first few innings of tonight's game were defined by some pretty unnecessary moments. First, Gallardo picked Jose Tabata off first base but the umpires, after a conference, said Tabata had avoided a tag that pretty clearly got him across the back. Then in the bottom half of the inning, Rickie Weeks and Ronnie Cedeno collided during a rundown and both benches and bullpens cleared when Cedeno took offense.