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George Kottaras, Yovani Gallardo Combine Forces To Lead Brewers Past Cubs, 2-1

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CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 11:  Starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo #49 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers the ball against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 11: Starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo #49 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers the ball against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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W: Yovani Gallardo (1-1)
L: Ryan Dempster (0-1)
S: John Axford (2)

HR: George Kottaras (2)

MVP: George Kottaras (+.362)
LVP: Aramis Ramirez (-.180)

Win Expectancy Graph and Star of the Game Voting

On paper, today didn't look like a great opportunity to win for the Brewers. They sent a lineup without Ryan Braun, Corey Hart or Jonathan Lucroy for an afternoon game against the Cubs and Ryan Dempster, who they haven't hit well at all over the years. Baseball is a funny game sometimes.

First, Yovani Gallardo kept the Brewers in the game with an excellent bounce-back performance. He gave up a run in the first inning but settled down from there and held the Cubs to just five hits and two walks over seven innings. He struck out six in the game while throwing 107 pitches, and lowered his 2012 ERA from 14.73 to 5.91.

Then, with the Brewers trailing 1-0 in the top of the seventh, George Kottaras came to the plate and homered to right off Ryan Dempster to take the lead. Kottaras was catching Gallardo for the first time since April of last year, but he and Mat Gamel combined for four of the Brewers' five hits off Ryan Dempster.

Francisco Rodriguez struck out the side working around a couple of walks in the eighth, and John Axford closed the door in the ninth for his 45th consecutive save.

The two teams will wrap up this series with another afternoon game tomorrow. Zack Greinke will take on Matt Garza at 1:20.