for this game

Gallardo dominates as Brewers take Game 1 of NLDS

Oct 2, 2011 - 12:00 AM Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Yovani Gallardo was dominant on the hill and Milwaukee's two MVP candidates combined for five hits, three runs scored and two driven in to carry the Brewers over the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-1, in the opener of the National League Division Series.

Gallardo's (1-0) only costly mistake in his eight-inning opus came on Ryan Roberts' home run. He was otherwise stellar as he matched a Brewers postseason record with nine strikeouts and allowed just four hits and one walk.

Prince Fielder, in perhaps his final season in Milwaukee as free agency looms, went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, while fellow slugger Ryan Braun added three hits and two runs scored for the NL Central champs.

"It's very big," Fielder said of the Game 1 win. "I am trying to enjoy the moment...trying to enjoy the fans, the teammates and really try to have as much fun as possible."

Ian Kennedy (0-1), a 21-game-winner in the regular season, surrendered four runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings for Arizona, which won the West Division by a comfortable eight-game margin over the reigning World Series champion Giants.

Arizona will look to rebound in the best-of-five series on Sunday when Daniel Hudson battles Zack Greinke, who won the final game of the regular season to lock up home-field advantage this round.

Playing at Miller Park bodes well for Milwaukee, which posted 57 victories at home en route to a franchise-record 96-win campaign.

In the first inning though, Gallardo had to rely on his defense after Willie Bloomquist lined his first pitch into center field for a single, then stole second with Justin Upton at the plate.

Upton laced a one-out base hit to left field that Braun fielded off his back foot. Nonetheless, Braun readjusted his feet and fired a strike to the plate, albeit on two hops, to throw out Bloomquist by a step.

Gallardo, who didn't make it past the fourth inning of his first postseason start three years ago, settled in from there, retiring 19 of the next 21 batters he faced before Roberts' leadoff homer in the eighth.

"Braun made a huge play in left to throw out the guy at the plate and gave [Gallardo] some confidence," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He got crisper and crisper from then on."

The Brewers had built a 4-0 lead by the time Roberts went deep.

They loaded the bases in the fourth when Braun singled, Fielder doubled and Rickie Weeks was plunked in the midsection. Jerry Hairston Jr., penciled in as the starting third baseman over a struggling Casey McGehee, pushed a run across with a sacrifice fly to center, and although Milwaukee stranded two, the lead doubled in the sixth.

With two outs in the frame, Yuniesky Betancourt sent a fly ball to the left- field warning track that landed over Gerardo Parra's head. Parra was unable to locate the ball after it bounced off the wall, allowing Betancourt to race around for a triple.

Jonathan Lucroy proceeded to hit another one to left, only his single was an RBI blooper that landed in front of Parra.

Milwaukee put together another two-out rally in the seventh, starting with Braun doubling to right. Despite first base being open, Kennedy opted to pitch to Fielder, and the slugger responded by taking a hanging breaking ball into the first row of seats in right field for his second career postseason homer.

"I left [Kennedy] in. It was a bad decision on my part, obviously," said Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, who pulled his starter after the blast. "I made a poor decision and that's how the game goes."

The Diamondbacks, owners of an MLB-best and a franchise-record 48 comeback wins during the regular season, got a boost with Roberts' blast to straightaway center, but Gallardo quelled the momentum by fanning the next three hitters in succession.

Gallardo was pulled after 106 pitches, and John Axford needed just 14 to retire Arizona's 2-3-4 hitters in the ninth to lock down the save.

"He was amped up and locked in," Upton said of Gallardo. "We just didn't get the barrel to him."

Game Note

Gallardo, who was 5-0 in his career against Arizona coming in, tied Hall-of- Famer Don Sutton for most postseason strikeouts in Brewers history. Sutton struck out nine on October 8, 1982 against the Angels... Axford has converted 44 saves in a row since blowing a save against the Phillies on April 18...Milwaukee was playing in just its second postseason since 1982...Kennedy won his final six decisions in the regular season...Arizona, which last reached the playoffs in 2007, won the regular season series, 4-3.