Gallardo takes no-hitter into 8th, beats Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals' Nick Punto, left, forces out Milwaukee Brewers' Craig Counsell (30) but fails to turn a double play in the first inning of a baseball game on Saturday, May 7, 2011, in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals' Nick Punto, left, forces out Milwaukee Brewers' Craig Counsell (30) but fails to turn a double play in the first inning of a baseball game on Saturday, May 7, 2011, in St. Louis. Photo by The Associated Press.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Kyle Lohse regained his form one start after his 22-inning scoreless streak ended. He just couldn’t quite match Yovani Gallardo.

The St. Louis Cardinals right-hander allowed only one run in eight innings, but left trailing against a pitcher who carried a no-hitter into the eighth in the Milwaukee Brewers’ 4-0 victory Saturday.

“It doesn’t really matter if we scored 10 runs or no runs, I’m trying to throw zeros,” Lohse said. “It doesn’t change the fact that I’m out there trying to throw the best game I could.”

Lohse (4-2) lost for the first time since his first start of the year while lowering his ERA to 2.24. On Monday, he gave up five runs in six innings against the Marlins and took a line drive off his right shin, but the injury responded to treatment.

In Lohse’s last four innings, the Brewers didn’t get a runner into scoring position.

“I didn’t think it would be much of a problem after I pitched my bullpen,” Lohse said. “I knew I could get through it.”

Gallardo (3-2) was the second consecutive pitcher to flirt with a no-hitter at Busch Stadium, allowing only a single to start the eighth inning in a victory that busted two slumps.

Gallardo left after eight, 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.

“It’s surprising to see a guy with that kind of stuff with that kind of ERA coming in,” Lohse said. “He had his stuff working for him. I don’t know what he was doing against other guys, but you’ve got to tip your cap to him.”

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. Manager Ron Roenicke canceled batting practice Saturday in hopes of shaking up the offense.

The Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia carried a perfect game into the eighth Friday and threw a two-hitter in a 6-0 win.

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. 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.

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.

Lohse said his pregame warmup was “probably one of the worst warmups I’ve had in a while.”

“I just kept focused,” he added. “I’ve done it enough that I battled through it and finally found that groove.”

Overall, Lohse has allowed runs in only six of his 522⁄3 innings.

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 also bunted foul three times with a man on and none out in the eighth, the first on a 3-0 count. Manager Tony La Russa said third base coach Jose Oquendo “kept coming over there telling him to get the ball down.”

“Only regret we have is the last one was ball four,” La Russa 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.

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