The Milwaukee Brewers were out of position players by the 10th inning and the Baltimore Orioles knew it. So they intentionally walked Mark Reynolds with the bases empty and two outs and Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez due up next.
But Yovani Gallardo—sent up to bat for Rodriguez—smacked a double to the wall in center field to bring Reynolds around for a 7-6 victory Tuesday night at Miller Park.
It wasn’t the worst idea by manager Ron Roenicke. While Rodriguez is a career .500 hitter, that’s because in 757 games he’s 1-for-2 and his last plate appearance was on Aug. 12, 2011.
Gallardo swings the bat pretty well* (*–for a pitcher). He was the National League Silver Slugger winner at his position in 2010 after hitting four home runs in 72 plate appearances and he entered Tuesday’s game with a .202 lifetime average and 12 home runs in 423 trips to the plate.
The Brewers (31-22) came from behind to get the win, scoring a run in the ninth to tie it before Gallardo’s heroics in the 10th. That came after Baltimore (26-24) fought back from a 5-0 deficit to take a 6-5 lead.
Trailing by that 6-5 count in the ninth, the Brewers opened the inning with a leadoff single by Lyle Overbay off left-hander Zach Britton. Jean Segura sacrificed pinch-runner Elian Herrera to second and Herrera moved up to third on a Ryan Braun groundout. Jonathan Lucroy then hit a slow chopper up the third base line. Manny Machado’s throw pulled first baseman Chris Davis off the bag, but Lucroy was going to beat the play anyway.
Reynolds led off the second with his 12th homer to put Milwaukee up 4-0 and Khris Davis hit his 8th leading off the fourth.
Garza walked Cruz to lead off the inning and one out later, Nick Hundley reached when Segura’s throw on a force play at second was off line. Garza got a ground out for the second out of the inning, but pinch-hitter Steve Pearce lined his fourth homer of the year to left field to put Baltimore up 6-5.
Garza allowed six runs, three earned, in 6.2 innings, surrendering five hits and two walks while striking out nine. Will Smith worked 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit. Tyler Thornburg allowed a hit and struck out one in the ninth and Rodriguez (2-1) worked around a walk in the 10th, striking out one.
T.J. McFarland (0-1), the seventh pitcher used by the Orioles, took the loss.
Segura and Reynolds each went 2-for-4 for the Brewers, who had 12 hits. Braun and Lucroy were 2-for-5, with Lucroy raising his average to .332—fourth in the National League.
The teams close out their series on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. Gallardo (2-3, 3.51 ERA) will make his first start since spraining his ankle in Atlanta on May 20 and will be opposed by right-hander Bud Norris (3-4, 3.83 ERA).