Offensive surge backs Gallardo's final spring start
Opening Day starter allows two hits in 6 1/3 frames; Gonzalez, Statia go deep
PHOENIX -- Yovani Gallardo pitched into the seventh inning, Alex Gonzalez homered and drove in two runs and the Brewers won their final home game of the spring at Maryvale Baseball Park, 9-1, over a Royals split-squad on Wednesday.
Gallardo surrendered only two Royals hits in 6 1/3 innings, including Xavier Nady's solo home run in the fourth. Gallardo walked three batters and struck out two in his final tune-up before facing the Rockies on Opening Day.
"Going into the start today, you just want to tighten things up and get ready for the season," Gallardo said. "I fell behind a few guys, but I made pitches whenever I needed to get ground balls. I wound up walking three guys and my pitch count was pretty low, so I'll take that. That's right where you want to finish off -- going into the seventh [inning]. The next bump is to 100 pitches." Gallardo did have some trouble with the long ball this spring, allowing at least one home run in four of his five starts.
"I'm not worried about it," Gallardo said, "especially here in Arizona, where you're trying to get ready."
The Brewers fielded their full Opening Day lineup and supported Gallardo by scoring six runs (four earned) on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings against Royals starter Luis Mendoza, a right-hander who gave Milwaukee fits last year in Spring Training and in the regular season. Mendoza walked one batter and struck out three in his final Arizona appearance before opening the season as Kansas City's fifth starter.
"He wasn't as good as he's been all spring, but he got his work in," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
For the Brewers, leadoff man Norichika Aoki had three hits and scored twice, and is batting .448 (13-for-29) over his last 10 games. Aramis Ramirez delivered a two-run single in the Brewers' three-run fifth inning, and Minor Leaguer Hainley Statia hit a two-run home run in the sixth.
Backup catcher Martin Maldonado drove in the Brewers' ninth run with a sharp single in the eighth.
"Everybody seemed be swinging the bat today," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We're going to be scoring a lot of runs if we do stuff like this."
Up next for Brewers: Newly acquired right-hander Kyle Lohse will make his Brewers debut Thursday, an outing that will help the team determine when to slot him into the rotation. Lohse threw 95 pitches in a simulated game before signing his three-year deal with Milwaukee, but will be limited to 50-60 pitches against the Rockies as the Brewers gauge his readiness. Left-hander Nick Schmidt will start for Colorado in a 3:05 p.m. CT game to air on Gameday Audio and the Brewers Radio Network.