MILWAUKEE (AP) - Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke certainly didn't expect this when he gave Yovani Gallardo the opening-day start ahead of his other ace, Zack Greinke.
Gallardo gave up four home runs and the St. Louis Cardinals spoiled the Brewers' opener with an 11-5 victory on Friday.
``Command was a big issue,' Gallardo said. ``You can't do those things to a club that has big hitters like that.'
David Freese hit a two-run drive and Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday hit solo shots for the Cardinals.
Gallardo (0-1) struggled with his control from the start and lasted only 3 2-3 innings, giving up seven hits and six runs with five walks and three strikeouts. Roenicke gave Gallardo the opening-day start despite Gallardo's career 1-7 record against the Cardinals with a 5.66 ERA coming into Friday's game.
``Sometimes, guys just don't do well against certain clubs,' Roenicke said. ``Sometimes you may be bad against them for a few years, you turn things around and it's just the opposite. I don't know if it's the personnel they have or just not locking in on what he's doing against them.'
Gallardo said he has to get ahead of hitters regardless of which team he's facing, but acknowledged that the Cardinals have a strong lineup.
``They're tough,' Gallardo said. ``They have good hitters up and down their lineup. They do it all. They have everything - they hit for power and average. They take advantage of mistakes. The balls I left up in the zone today, they took advantage of.'
Jaime Garcia (1-0) pitched six solid innings for St. Louis, yielding two runs and five hits.
Ryan Braun was 0 for 5 and new Brewers cleanup hitter Aramis Ramirez was 0 for 4.
``When they score that many runs off of us, I don't know if it really matters,' Roenicke said. ``We depend on those guys to swing the bat and they will.'
Brewers fans gave a rousing reception to Braun, both before the game and the first few times he stepped to the plate. It was a show of support for the NL MVP, whose potential 50-game suspension for a positive drug test was overturned by an arbitrator before spring training.
Braun said before the game he hoped to show fans he can handle the offseason controversy and return to his MVP form after struggling in spring training.
With the Cardinals trailing 2-0 after the first inning, Molina smashed a pitch into the right-field bullpen to start the second.
Things got worse from there.
Gallardo gave up back-to-back shots to Beltran and Holliday to start the third. Gallardo then walked Lance Berkman and gave up his third homer of the inning to Freese.
After walking Molina, Gallardo finally got three straight outs.
Roenicke lifted Gallardo after he allowed an RBI single to Freese that put the Cardinals up 6-2. Marco Estrada got the final out of the inning.
Milwaukee had runners on first and third with one out in the fifth, but Jonathan Lucroy was called for interference when he ran into Cardinals second baseman Daniel Descalso while Descalso was trying to field a grounder. Carlos Gomez flied out to end the inning.
Things started out well for the Brewers, who grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first. But they didn't score again until pinch hitter George Kottaras connected for a three-run homer in the ninth.
NOTES: Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio said before the game that the team continues work on contract extensions for general manager Doug Melvin and Roenicke. ... Milwaukee's Norichika Aoki made his major league debut as a pinch hitter in the fifth, striking out.
The Associated Press News Service
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