Command burned Gallardo

It’s only two starts, but Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo has not been the same guy since his two-hit shutout of the Braves earlier this month.

Gallardo surrendered a pair of three-run home runs in the opening game of a doubleheader against the Nationals on Sunday, an 8-4 Brewers loss that left manager Ron Roenicke a bit perplexed.

“I don’t have any answers for it,” Roenicke said. “He started off good, and then lost the command. I don’t know what it is when ‘Yo’ loses his command, because he had it all spring and he had it the first two games [of the regular season]. When he came out today, I thought he had it to begin with, and then he lost it.”

Staked to an early 2-0 lead on Casey McGehee’s RBI single in the first inning and Gallardo’s own RBI single in the fourth, the Brewers right-hander surrendered a three-run homer to Nationals leadoff man Danny Espinosa in the fifth inning and another to catcher Ivan Rodriguez in the sixth.

Both Washington homers came on mistakes after Gallardo fell behind in the count.

He was in a 3-and-0 hole to Espinosa before a pair of called strikes pushed the count full. Gallardo threw a fastball down and inside to the left-handed-hitting Espinosa, who hit it into the right-field seats.

“I tried to go down and away and it ends up down and in. I’m pretty sure that’s where he likes the ball,” Gallardo said. “It’s one of those things where you try to overthrow and he got it up in the air.”

Against Rodriguez, Gallardo was behind 2-and-0 when he threw a slider up in the strike zone. Rodriguez hit it the other way to the first row of seats in right-center field.

“As the game went on, that was the thing — the fastball and off-speed stuff was up in the zone, and they put the bat on it,” Gallardo said.

It was only the seventh time in 86 Major League starts that Gallardo surrendered two home runs in a game, and the first time in those seven games that both of the homers came with men on base. Before Sunday, only five of the 45 homers Gallardo had allowed came with multiple runners on base (four three-run homers and one grand slam).

In two starts since his gem against Atlanta, in which Gallardo scored the only run in a 1-0 win at Miller Park, he has allowed 11 runs on 16 hits in 10 1/3 innings.

He said several times on Sunday that he “felt fine.”


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