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Brewers go airborne to soar past Astros

June 29, 2010

MILWAUKEE — Yovani Gallardo stole a page out of Prince Fielder’s book on Tuesday night. According to Fielder, it’s the other way around.

Gallardo didn’t have his best stuff on the mound, but he sure made up for it at the plate on Tuesday, sparking the Brewers’ offensive outburst in a series-evening 7-5 victory over the Astros at Miller Park.

On the mound, Gallardo (8-3) gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings while striking out five and walking two. It was just the fourth time in 17 starts this season that Gallardo has given up four or more earned runs.

But he belted a solo homer in the second inning to put the Brewers on the board. Gallardo did his best Fielder impression, belting the first pitch he saw from Astros starter Brett Myers off the bullpen wall in left-center field.

Gallardo’s home run was his third this season, which gives him — by himself — more than any other pitching staff in the Majors. It was the seventh of Gallardo’s career, which extended his franchise record for home runs by a pitcher.

Three batters later, Fielder crushed a two-run home run to right.

“No, I’m taking one out of his,” the first baseman said when asked if Gallardo was taking a page out of his book. “He’s pitching good and hitting homers. He’s locked in all the way around.”

Fielder added his 17th homer of the season, a solo shot to lead off the fifth, for his 19th career multi-homer game. It was also Fielder’s 177th career home run, moving him ahead of Ben Oglivie for fifth on the Brewers’ all-time leaderboard.

After a slow start, Fielder now has 10 home runs in the month of June, including four on Milwaukee’s homestand.

“When I see the ball and I take my swing at it, good things usually happen,” Fielder said. “It’s just how baseball is. The only thing I’ve been trying to do different is to swing the way I swing. I’ve never been a guy to hit singles to left field.”

Rookie catcher Jonathan Lucroy got in on the act in the sixth, leading off with his second career home run. With Lucroy’s blast, the Brewers matched a season high with four homers in a game — the fifth time they accomplished the feat.

Myers (5-6) surrendered all four homers — a career high — as he gave up a season-worst seven earned runs on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts over six innings pitched. The veteran entered the game having allowed just two home runs all season.

“I think we just hit the mistakes, I guess,” Fielder said. “I don’t know the exact formula we used. But I think we were able to just hit the mistakes and hit them hard.”

In the fifth inning, though, Brewers manager Ken Macha started to get a feeling of déjà vu.

With a 5-0 lead through four, Gallardo opened the fifth by giving up a leadoff double to catcher Jason Castro and followed with a walk to shortstop Oswaldo Navarro.

After a sacrifice by Myers, center fielder Michael Bourn ripped a two-run single to center on a 1-0 curveball.

“The game started to look eerily similar to last night,” Macha said, referencing Houston’s 9-5 comeback victory. “We got off to a big lead, and they got their first two guys on in the fifth inning and they got three hits, all of them on a breaking ball off of Yo.”

Following Bourn, a grounder to short got Gallardo within an out of escaping the inning, but a Lance Berkman single plated another run, putting the Astros within two.

Gallardo finally got out of it, coaxing Hunter Pence into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. Leading off the sixth, though, Gallardo gave up a leadoff home run to Pedro Feliz on a 2-0 fastball.

“It just got out of hand there for a little bit,” Gallardo said. “That one to Feliz, falling behind in the count, it’s a fastball situation. You’ve almost got to be perfect with the fastball, and I just left it up over the zone.”

But just as Gallardo let the Astros back in the game, Fielder and Lucroy gave the Brewers some extra breathing room with home runs leading off the fifth and sixth.

Like Gallardo, closer John Axford didn’t appear to have his best stuff in the ninth, surrendering a run and putting two runners on for Pence with two outs, but he shut the door and converted his eighth save in as many chances. The win gave the Brewers the chance to win their third consecutive series, and a win Wednesday would make it a 7-2 homestand.

“It would mean a lot,” Gallardo said. “It’s very important these last couple weeks before the All-Star break. We have a bunch of games here at home and we’re going to take advantage of it.

“All the guys are out their playing hard doing everything they can. So hopefully we just continue this, enjoy the win today and show up tomorrow and win the series.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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