|Milwaukee (4-2) «||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||2||5||0|
|Chi. Cubs (1-5)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||6||2|
CHICAGO -- George Kottaras had the type of afternoon backups dream about.
Kottaras hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning, and Yovani Gallardo outdueled Ryan Dempster as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 Wednesday for their third straight win in the four-game series.
Backed by Starlin Castro's first-inning sacrifice fly that followed David DeJesus' double, Dempster (0-1) had a three-hit shutout before Mat Gamel doubled leading off the seventh. Kottaras followed with his second homer this season.
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"It was down and in," Kottaras said of the slider, "and I was just trying to stay through the middle, wasn't trying to hit a home run. Just put a good swing on it, and off it went."
Gallardo (1-1) didn't need much offense. He allowed five hits in seven innings, struck out six and walked two, getting 11 ground-ball outs.
It was a welcomed rebound from an opening-day start in which the 26-year-old right-hander allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings against World Series champion St. Louis.
"I was a little more aggressive with the fastball down in the strike zone, moving it around in and out," Gallardo said. "The slider was the best slider I've had in a while. I was able to command it and get ground balls whenever I needed them."
"Yovani got better as the game went on," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I thought his last inning was his best inning with his fastball. He had good rhythm all game."
Dempster, who fell to 15-6 against Milwaukee, allowed two runs, five hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings with five strikeouts.
"Gallardo did a good job of pitching today," Dempster said. "I knew today it was going to be tough to win a game. I'm kind of upset with myself because we have a chance to win that game if I don't give up that home run."
Making his first big league start, Brewers leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki reached on a single and a walk, seeing 29 pitches over four plate appearances. Aoki was a three-time batting champion and six-time Gold Glove winner during seven seasons with Yakult in Japan's Central League.
"He does a really nice job battling," Roenicke said. "He gets on base for you, he's going to be a nice guy to have with us this year."
|Catcher George Kottaras (right), who hits a two-run homer in the seventh, celebrates the win with closer John Axford. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Aoki Norichika, LF||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.400|
|Nyjer Morgan, RF||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.118|
|Rickie Weeks, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.208|
|Aramis Ramirez, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.091|
|Mat Gamel, 1B||4||1||2||0||0||1||0||.273|
|Alex Gonzalez, SS||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.190|
|George Kottaras, C||3||1||2||2||1||1||0||.429|
|Carlos Gomez, CF||3||0||0||0||1||1||3||.357|
|Yovani Gallardo, P||3||0||0||0||0||1||3||.000|
|Francisco Rodriguez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|John Axford, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|2B - Mat Gamel (1, Dempster)|
|HR - George Kottaras (2, Dempster)|
|SH - Nyjer Morgan (2)|
|RBI - George Kottaras 2 (5)|
|SB - Carlos Gomez (1, 3rd base off Russell/Soto)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Weeks-Gamel|
|Yovani Gallardo (W,1-1)||7||5||1||1||2||6||0||5.91|
|Francisco Rodriguez (H,1)||1||0||0||0||2||3||0||0.00|
|John Axford (S,2)||1||1||0||0||0||3||0||7.71|
|Pitches-Strikes - Yovani Gallardo 107-68, Francisco Rodriguez 29-15, John Axford 20-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Yovani Gallardo 11-3|
|Batters Faced - Yovani Gallardo 27, Francisco Rodriguez 5, John Axford 4|
|David DeJesus, RF||3||1||1||0||1||1||0||.263|
|Darwin Barney, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.250|
|Starlin Castro, SS||2||0||0||1||1||0||0||.261|
|Alfonso Soriano, LF||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.300|
|Carlos Marmol, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ian Stewart, 3B||4||0||2||0||0||2||2||.250|
|Bryan LaHair, 1B||3||0||1||0||1||2||1||.417|
|Geovany Soto, C||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.176|
|Marlon Byrd, CF||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.048|
|a- Steve Clevenger, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.600|
|Joe Mather, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Ryan Dempster, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|James Russell, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Blake DeWitt, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.000|
|Kerry Wood, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Reed Johnson, LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.143|
|a-doubled for Byrd in the 9th|
|b-grounded out for Russell in the 7th|
|2B - David DeJesus (1, Gallardo), Steve Clevenger (1, Axford)|
|SF - Starlin Castro (1)|
|RBI - Starlin Castro (2)|
|SB - Starlin Castro (5, 2nd base off Rodriguez/Kottaras)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Stewart-Barney-LaHair, LaHair|
|E - Starlin Castro (2, Misplayed grounder), Geovany Soto (1, Throwing)|
|Ryan Dempster (L,0-1)||6.2||5||2||2||3||5||1||1.88|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ryan Dempster 106-65, James Russell 6-3, Kerry Wood 13-9, Carlos Marmol 20-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ryan Dempster 7-7|
|Batters Faced - Ryan Dempster 27, James Russell 1, Kerry Wood 3, Carlos Marmol 4|
|Attendance - 34044|
|Game Time - 2:59|
|Temperature - 44|
|Umpires - Home - Lance Barksdale, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Gary Cederstrom|