MILWAUKEE (AP) Yadier Molina hit a three-run homer and Yovani Gallardo struggled in his first outing since signing a big contract extension with the Milwaukee Brewers, giving up six runs in five innings in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 7-1 victory Saturday.
Jaime Garcia (1-0) was sharp in his debut as the Cardinals’ No. 5 starter, giving up a run and four hits in six innings. Colby Rasmus homered and Albert Pujols had a two-run single for the Cardinals, who took the first two games of a three-game series that concludes Sunday night.
Brewers sluggers Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder went a combined 0-for-8, including three strikeouts by Fielder. Gallardo (0-2) was roughed up in the second and fifth innings, retiring 10 straight batters in between.
Gallardo, widely acknowledged as one of baseball’s top young pitchers at age 24, signed a $30.1 million, five-year deal Thursday that could be worth $42.5 million over six seasons. Brewers manager Ken Macha said Friday that he didn’t expect the big contract to change Gallardo, joking that Gallardo’s even-keel approach was similar to the manager’s own “boring personality.”
Maybe the big contract didn’t get to Gallardo on Saturday, but the Cardinals certainly did.
After forcing three quick groundouts in the first inning, Gallardo got into trouble right away in the second.
He allowed a single to Matt Holliday and walked Rasmus. Holliday scored on a single by Ryan Ludwick, and Rasmus went to third base on a wide throw home that resulted in an error on Braun.
Molina – who hit a grand slam on opening day, the first of his career – then hit his second home run of the season, putting a 1-0 fastball into the left field stands for a 4-0 Cardinals lead.
Gallardo settled down from there, retiring 10 straight, but struggled with his control again in the fifth.
Gallardo walked Garcia, then Skip Schumaker lined a ball into left field – and seemed to surprise Braun by streaking to second base as the left fielder threw to third. Gallardo struck out Felipe Lopez, but Pujols singled sharply to score Garcia and Schumaker and give the Cardinals a 6-0 lead.
Claudio Vargas replaced Gallardo to start the sixth, and Rasmus smacked Vargas’ first pitch into the second deck in right field for a 7-0 Cardinals lead.
The Brewers couldn’t manage much of anything off of Garcia, who is coming off Tommy John surgery and was making his second career start.
Garcia, who was limited to a handful of minor league outings last season after having surgery in September 2008, earned the Cardinals’ No. 5 spot in spring training.
Garcia held the Brewers scoreless with only two hits through the first five innings, then gave up a double to Casey McGehee and RBI single to Corey Hart in the sixth.
NOTES: Hart, formerly the Brewers’ regular right fielder, started his second game of the season and had two hits. Veteran Jim Edmonds has started the other three. … Garcia’s first major league start came July 20, 2008, against San Diego. … Brewers CF Carlos Gomez fouled a ball off his foot in the third inning but remained in the game.