Yovani Gallardo back to searching for answers

Yovani Gallardo appeared to have his early season struggles behind him after three straight starts without allowing an earned run.

Two starts later, Gallardo is back to searching for answers yet again. After a short outing last Wednesday against the Cubs, Gallardo was hit hard by the Nationals on Monday night.

Gallardo allowed eight runs on nine hits in just three innings as the Brewers fell 10-5 to Washington for their sixth straight loss. Milwaukee is now 17 games under .500 for the first time since 2004.

“I don’t know what’s going on with him but the results aren’t there,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Gallardo. “He makes really good pitches, and then he misses with a couple. When he misses, they aren’t missing the ball. He’s not consistently throwing the ball where he wants to. When he’s still trying to hit corners when he’s behind, he gets really behind. Then they are sitting on fastball.”

In his first game back from the disabled list, Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper got Gallardo for a solo home run in the first inning. Gallardo was able to work a scoreless second inning, but got hit hard in the third inning.

Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann led off the inning with a double, and Denard Span followed by drawing a walk. Jayson Werth plated both with a double to left field, putting Washington up 3-0. Ryan Zimmerman added an RBI single to make it 4-0 before Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond hit back-to-back doubles to blow the game open at 6-0.

Gallardo came back out for the fourth inning, but again gave up a leadoff hit to the opposing pitcher. After a double by Span, Werth drove in two more runs with an RBI single to chase Gallardo.

“It’s baseball,” Roenicke said. “We don’t expect to see it from Yovani because he’s been so consistent through his career. He’s at a point right now where he’s deep in counts. It’s 3-2 and he’s having to make a great pitch. You can’t survive if you keep doing that.”

With Milwaukee’s bullpen already taxed, Roenicke turned to Johnny Hellweg to work an inning Monday. Because he only worked 1 2/3 innings in a start shortened by rain Sunday, Kyle Lohse is now slated to take Hellweg’s scheduled Wednesday start.

Though Hellweg was needed to pitch in relief Monday, he’s not ruled out for Thursday. The Brewers still don’t list a starter for the final game in Washington, as Hellweg or Donovan Hand could be needed Tuesday or Wednesday in relief.

“We’ll see what happens tomorrow because tomorrow is an important game for our bullpen, also,” Roenicke said. “We’ll see where we can go with Hand. If we have to use him, we may have to change some things.

“We can get by. If Wily (Peralta) only gives us a couple (Tuesday), it would be trouble. We’ll see what happens.”

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