ST. LOUIS -- Everything was working for Yovani Gallardo. Even his fashion sense.
The right-hander was the second pitcher to flirt with a no-hitter at Busch Stadium in as many days. He allowed only a single to start the eighth inning in a performance that busted two slumps in the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
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"His stuff was just nasty," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "It's who he is, it's what he does."
Gallardo displayed stirrups for the first time, stealing a shorter pair of pants out of teammate Marco Estrada's locker, and said "Marco's not getting his pants back."
Gallardo (3-2) left after eight innings, the lone blemish Daniel Descalso's solid single up the middle on a 1-1 count. The Brewers' opening day starter entered the game with 53 hits allowed, tops in the major leagues, and ended a string of five poor outings in which he was 1-2 with an 8.89 ERA.
"That's pretty dramatic. That's Yo," manager Ron Roenicke said. "The other starts, I think that wasn't Yo. I think he just got back on-line again."
Gallardo said he succeeded by moving the fastball around, getting groundball outs to end innings, commanding a slider especially against left-handed hitters and keeping the ball down. Just like Jaime Garcia, who carried a perfect game into the eighth Friday and ended with a one-hitter, Gallardo was aware of the circumstances.
"A pitcher tells you they're not thinking about it, it's not true. I was definitely thinking about it," Gallardo said. "Of course, it would have been great to have achieved that."
It was almost as great just to get a win.
John Axford worked a perfect ninth for the Brewers, who were outscored 37-7 and shut out three times during a seven-game losing streak. Roenicke canceled batting practice Saturday in hopes of shaking up the offense.
"This week," Gallardo said, "was tough for all of us."
The Cardinals' Kyle Lohse (4-2) couldn't quite match Gallardo, allowing a run and six hits in eight innings in a return to form. The right-hander had a 22-inning scoreless streak ended in his last appearance, and didn't allow a runner in scoring position his last four innings.
Light-hitting Carlos Gomez gave the Brewers breathing room in the ninth with a two-run triple off Jason Motte that sailed over the head of right fielder Lance Berkman, then scored on pinch-hitter Yuniesky Betancourt's sacrifice fly. Gomez, Milwaukee's eighth-place hitter, also doubled after entering in a 3-for-23 slump.
Motte had replaced Mitchell Boggs, who was yanked after throwing a wild pitch that made it a 1-1 count against Gomez, and Gomez's hit came on a 2-2 count.
"[Boggs] had a short leash today," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's a sinkerball pitcher and he's getting the ball up. Just looked like he was really hyped."
Gallardo retired the first 13 batters in order before walking Berkman on a full count with one out in the fifth, and threw three more full-count walks before giving up Descalso's hit. He had been 0-4 with a 5.63 ERA in seven career starts against St. Louis.
"I was trying to get on base anyway I could," Descalso said. "The pressure was on that guy."
Lohse needed an extra out to escape a bases-loaded jam in the second after shortstop Tyler Greene inexplicably went for a forceout at second instead of going to first on Gallardo's two-out grounder, and Gomez hustled into second. Rickie Weeks struck out to end that threat.
Greene bunted foul three times in the eighth, the first on a 3-0 count.
"It was just some good pitches, that slider-cutter that he throws. I've just got to get it down and I didn't," Greene said.
Prince Fielder scored from first on Casey McGehee's two-out double in the third. The Brewers had two hits in the eighth but neither made it past first after Weeks got a leadoff single and then was easily caught stealing on a pitchout.
Gallardo was helped early by two exceptional defensive plays. Gomez made a leaping catch at the center field wall to prevent extra bases for Colby Rasmus in the first, and right fielder Mark Kotsay saved two runs with a running catch near the line and warning track that robbed Greene of extra bases to end the fifth.
- The Brewers' last one-hitter was by CC Sabathia on Aug. 31, 2008, at Pittsburgh. The franchise has only one no-hitter, by Juan Nieves in 1987, at Baltimore.
- The Cardinals were shut out for the first time, leaving only Arizona which hasn't been blanked.
- Cardinals regular SS Ryan Theriot did not play a day after leaving in the fourth with a bruised left shin where he was hit by a pitch. Theriot had been optimistic Friday night but La Russa said he'd rather not push it.
- Garcia has an 0.39 ERA at home after throwing a two-hit shutout Friday.