A brilliant pitching performance helped the Milwaukee Brewers finally earn their first victory of the season.
The Brewers were expecting that type of effort from newcomer Zack Greinke(notes) this season, but with the former AL Cy Young Award winner injured, the club is hoping Marco Estrada(notes) can help the club win its second straight over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.
The Brewers had lost five straight and seven of eight to Atlanta at Miller Park.
“I’m amazed,” first-year manager Ron Roenicke said after Gallardo gave him his first victory. “Knowing when to throw offspeed pitches, knowing when to elevate in the zone, he’s got a great feel for it, a great athlete.”
Greinke was projected to be the ace of the rotation after being acquired from Kansas City in December, but the 2009 AL Cy Young winner is sidelined with a cracked left rib suffered while playing pickup basketball in the offseason.
Estrada will take Greinke’s spot and make his third career start following an outstanding spring, when he went 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA in five appearances.
The right-hander had some trouble with shoulder fatigue last season - his first with the Brewers - and he had no record with a 9.53 ERA in seven appearances, including one start.
This will be Estrada’s first start against Atlanta. He is 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in three appearances versus the Braves, and hasn’t faced them since Sept. 5, 2008, while with Washington.
If Estrada gets into trouble, the Brewers’ bullpen will be well-rested following Gallardo’s masterful effort. Milwaukee’s relievers have been tagged for six home runs and have a 6.23 ERA.
The left-hander, who had a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings in the spring, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett as Jair Jurrjens(notes) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a strained right oblique muscle suffered late last month. Jurrjens is expected to throw a simulated game at Gwinnett on Wednesday.
Minor went 3-2 with a 5.98 ERA in nine appearances last season for Atlanta, making eight starts. He has never faced Milwaukee.
Despite Tuesday’s victory, the Brewers’ offense continues to struggle with 13 runs and a .217 batting average. Prince Fielder(notes) has gone 0-for-10 in his last three games, and has seen his average drop to .176.
The Braves, who are batting only .220, have scored two or fewer runs three times this season. They had just four baserunners Tuesday, and nobody reached second base.
Atlanta hasn’t dropped two in a row at Miller Park since May 27-28, 2008.