The Milwaukee Brewers seem to find different ways to win almost every time they take the field at Miller Park.
Gallardo looks to continue his dominance in Milwaukee and lead the surging Brewers to a seventh straight home victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.
With Friday’s 5-2 series-opening victory, NL Central-leading Milwaukee (79-54) won for the 25th time in 30 contests, remaining 9 1/2 games ahead of second-place St. Louis. Although the Brewers appear well on their way to winning their division for the first time since capturing the 1982 AL East crown, manager Ron Roenicke doesn’t want his team looking too far ahead.
“They know that there’s no let up,” Roenicke told the Brewers’ official website. “They know that we have to go out and play a great game to beat every single team we come up against.”
The Brewers have come pretty close to doing that in Milwaukee. They’re a major league-best 48-16 at home, and have won 19 of their last 22 at Miller Park.
In Friday’s win, Milwaukee took advantage of a throwing error by Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney(notes) - his second miscue of the fifth inning - to score two additional runs after Ryan Braun’s(notes) double.
“We’ve done a really good job of capitalizing on other teams’ mistakes lately and I think that’s one of the biggest reasons why we’ve had the success that we’ve had,” Braun said.
Braun is batting .465 with two homers and five doubles in his last 12 home games, and is hitting .405 with three homers, seven doubles and 10 RBIs in 11 contests against Chicago (57-75) this year.
The Brewers have won six straight home games over the Cubs after losing 10 of the previous 14 meetings in Milwaukee.
Gallardo (14-8, 3.51 ERA) has been sensational lately in Wisconsin, pitching at least seven innings and yielding one run in each of his last four outings there. In eight starts at Miller Park since the beginning of May, the right-hander is 6-1 with the NL’s third-best home ERA at 1.67.
Gallardo wasn’t particularly sharp against the Cubs in Milwaukee on April 10, allowing four runs, seven hits and four walks in five innings, although the Brewers rallied to win 6-5.
He fared much better at Wrigley Field on June 14, giving up a run and three hits while striking out a season-high 10 in seven innings, but Milwaukee’s bullpen faltered in a 5-4, 10-inning loss. Still, Gallardo is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in five outings against the Cubs since the start of last season.
In his last outing Sunday in New York, Gallardo gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings of a 6-2 victory. It was the fifth time in six starts that he yielded two runs or fewer.
He’ll hope for similar results against a Cubs lineup that has plated 14 runs while batting .214 in losing five of six. Chicago’s defense hasn’t been any better, committing a major league-worst 110 errors this year, including six in the last two games.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement, that’s for sure,” Barney said.
Aramis Ramirez(notes) extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a double Friday. He is batting .517 with four homers, five doubles and 14 RBIs during the run, and is 6 for 15 with four doubles lifetime against Gallardo.
Against the Brewers on July 26, the right-hander gave up three runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts in six innings of a 3-2 loss. He has limited Braun to a .227 average in 44 career at-bats.