Not that long ago, right-hander Yovani Gallardo was considered the ace of the Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation.
On Saturday night, he pitched like he still was.
Gallardo limited the Los Angeles Dodgers to a run on six singles over eight strong innings as the Brewers ended the 11-decision winning streak put together by reigning Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw with a 3-2 win at Dodger Stadium, winning the three-game series.
The Brewers (69-55) improved to 4-1 this season against the National League West leaders and are now 12-5 in their last 17 games at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw (14-3) hadn’t lost a decision since a 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on May 28 and Los Angeles (70-55) had won 13 straight games started by the All-Star left-hander.
After Gallardo and Kershaw traded zeroes for the first three innings, Milwaukee got to Kershaw in the fourth. Carlos Gomez led off with a double and one out later, Ryan Braun launched a 3-1 fastball from Kershaw just over the wall in right-center field for his 15th home run of the season and a 2-0 Brewer lead.
The Dodgers answered in the bottom of the fourth. Carl Crawford reached on a one-out infield single, stole second and scored on Justin Turner’s single up the middle. However, Turner tried to take second on the throw to the plate, but first baseman Mark Reynolds cut it off and fired to Elian Herrera, starting at shortstop in place of Jean Segura, for the second out.
Segura was out after bruising his hand trying to break up a double play on Friday.
The Brewers added an insurance run in the top of the sixth when Gomez rode a first-pitch changeup from Kershaw out of the park to left for his 19th home run of the season.
That turned out to be big later on.
But Rodriguez bounced back to strike out Crawford and Turner and got pinch-hitter Andre Ethier to ground out to end the game for his 38th save.
It was also career save No. 342 for Rodriguez, moving him past Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers into sole possession of 11th place on baseball’s all-time list. Next up in 10th place is Randy Myers, the left-hander who had 347 saves for the Mets, Reds, Padres, Cubs, Orioles and Blue Jays from 1985-98.
Gallardo (8-6) wasn’t overpowering, just extremely effective, inducing 12 ground ball outs, walking one and striking out three.
Kershaw allowed only five hits—but four of them were for extra bases, including the two home runs. Aramis Ramirez also cracked a double off Kershaw, who went the distance and struck out 11 without walking a batter.
Gomez and Ramirez were each 2-for-4 while the rest of the Milwaukee lineup combined to go 1-for-24.
In the NL Central race, the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates lost at Washington, leaving the Cards three games back while the Pirates fell to 4½ games off the pace.