Ace dazzles for Brewers

MILWAUKEE — Yovani Gallardo could barely see the tosses from catcher Jonathan Lucroy, losing them in the bright light filtering through the windows at Miller Park.

Imagine how the Diamondbacks felt.

Gallardo emerged from the shadows, outpitching Arizona ace Ian Kennedy as the Brewers continued winning at home with a 4-1 victory in their NL Division Series opener Saturday.

"It was tough for me seeing the ball coming back, just having the sun there in the background. I was just hoping Luc didn't throw one at my face," said Gallardo, who knew shadows would play a role late in the game. "When you have the lead … I was just going to keep going out and be aggressive knowing little things like that."

Prince Fielder chased Kennedy with a two-out, two-run homer in the seventh inning.

Gallardo retired 14 of 15 batters during one stretch, perhaps helped by how the shadows cut across the infield. With a 1 p.m. starting time in Milwaukee, the sun peeked through the park's retractable roof, creating a crazy, changing pattern.

"I've played here almost two years now, so I've kind of gotten used to it," Lucroy said. "But I can imagine some of the guys on the other team, and the umpires, too, having problems with it. It's tough. It's hitting different. Dark, light, dark coming down through the strike zone. It's tough to see sometimes."

Gallardo, who matched a franchise postseason record with nine strikeouts, was an All-Star in 2010 and went 17-10 with a 3.52 ERA this season, yet he is rarely mentioned among the elite pitchers in the game.

"He's been great his whole career, but I think if you look at the last month, he's really taken a step forward," the Brewers' Ryan Braun said. "He's been dominant."

Brewers 4

D'backs 1

Ace dazzles for Brewers 10/01/11 [Last modified: Sunday, October 2, 2011 12:39am]

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