Brewers take another step in the right direction

If starting pitching is contagious, Yovani Gallardo caught the bug. But more importantly, the Milwaukee Brewers put together another all-around effort Monday night.

For the second straight day, Milwaukee’s starting pitcher went eight strong innings, while the defense and offense backed them. Gallardo didn’t allow a run in eight innings and picked up his 1,000th career strikeout in Milwaukee’s 6-1 victory in Miami.

“(He had) great command on all of his pitches, good life on his pitches,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Gallardo. “I think his fastball command was really what he needs it to be. Then he mixes in the other stuff well. (It was) another good outing.”

While Gallardo tossed his best outing to date last Wednesday against Oakland, he had nothing to show for it because of one inning filled with bad luck. Against the Marlins, Gallardo was sharp and efficient, allowing him to go eight innings for the first time since Aug. 16, 2011.

A day after Kyle Lohse gave the Brewers eight innings Sunday, Gallardo gave the bullpen another needed night off.

“It’s good, we feed off each other,” Gallardo said. “Obviously we all want to do well. When we see someone else pitching well, it gives you that extra motivation to go out there and make pitches.

“Anytime you go eight innings, it’s a good day. It definitely is a good day. The defense behind me (was good). They turned some double plays. It was an all-around win.”

Complete performances have been few and far between this season for the Brewers. After scoring nine runs Sunday, Milwaukee had 16 hits Monday, chasing Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco in the sixth inning.

With Ryan Braun out of the lineup, Carlos Gomez and Rickie Weeks had three hits, while Jonathan Lucroy had four.

“Another good offensive performance,” Roenicke said. “We got a lot of guys on base today, a lot of hits. There are a lot of good things happening in the lineup.”

While the Brewers aren’t going to make up their big deficit quickly, the team is moving in the right direction. With two more against the lowly Marlins, Milwaukee can keep its momentum rolling heading into Cincinnati.

“Anytime you are talking about (four) wins in a row, it’s always good for a team, especially for us right now,” Weeks said. “It’s tough to string together wins right now. We are pitching the ball, playing defense, hitting the ball right now, that’s big for us.”

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