ATLANTA (AP) — Yovani Gallardo doesn’t mind waiting a bit longer for his first career shutout.
Sharing a combined shutout with Carlos Villanueva was fine with him, as long as it meant another win for first-place Milwaukee.
Gallardo gave up only two hits in eight scoreless innings, rookie Mat Gamel drove in three runs and the NL Central-leading Brewers shut out the Atlanta Braves 4-0 on Friday night.
Gallardo (6-2) walked four with six strikeouts and gave up no singles in eight innings. He allowed no baserunner past second base and threw 110 pitches. The pitch count was too high to start the ninth.
“I have no problem with it,” Gallardo said of Milwaukee manager Ken Macha’s decision to bring in Villanueva for the ninth. “I’m just happy we got the win. … I keep going until they tell me not to.”
Macha said he resisted the thought of leaving the 23-year-old Gallardo in the game.
“We’ve been trying to watch his pitch count,” Macha said.
“I’m sure he would have liked to have gotten the complete-game shutout.”
The Braves’ only hits off Gallardo were doubles — in the third inning by Martin Prado and in the seventh by Brian McCann.
“He’s got unbelievable breaking stuff, knows where the fastball is going,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He really is a dominant-type pitcher. I can’t complain.”
Villanueva completed the shutout with a perfect ninth inning.
Gamel hit a two-run double in the fourth to drive in Prince Fielder and Mike Cameron. Gamel added a run-scoring single in the Brewers’ two-run fifth, raising his batting average from .229 to .256 in his seventh start at third base.
“I’m finally getting comfortable with my stats,” Gamel said.
“I’m ready for whatever they want me to do — spot start, pinch-hit or whatever.”
Gamel started ahead of Bill Hall, who’s hitting only .211 and entered as a defensive replacement.
Gallardo, who pitched eight scoreless innings but received no decision in the Brewers’ 1-0 win over St. Louis in 10 innings on May 25, has allowed one earned run in his last three starts.
“I felt good,” he said. “The first three innings, my command was a little bit off. As the game went on, I was able to get that under control.”
The Brewers began the night tied with St. Louis for first place in the NL Central.
Jair Jurrjens (5-3) suffered in first loss in seven starts, giving up nine hits and four runs in seven innings.
“We saw two of the best young pitchers in the game today,” McCann said.
Cox called Jurrjens’ effort “one of the best nine-hitters I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Each starter finished with a 2.84 ERA.
Gallardo said he was motivated by the matchup.
“He is a good pitcher,” Gallardo said of Jurrjens. “He has good stuff. Everybody knew it would be a pretty good matchup.”
Center fielder Nate McLouth was 0-for-4 in his debut with Atlanta. The Braves acquired McLouth from Pittsburgh for three minor leaguers on Wednesday.
“It was a little weird,” said McLouth, who was drafted by the Pirates. “I kept feeling like I was the visiting team. But that will pass as time goes on.”
The Braves hope the addition of McLouth, who hit third, will spark their offense. Instead, they suffered their sixth shutout loss and set a season low with only two hits.
“I know we didn’t look good swinging the bats,” Cox said, adding credit went to Gallardo.
Pinch-hitter Greg Norton threatened to end Gallardo’s shutout bid in the eighth when his long drive into the right-field seats was foul by only a few feet.<
Notes:@ Manager Ken Macha said RHP Dave Bush skipped his normal day of playing catch after being struck above his right elbow by Hanley Ramirez’s line drive Thursday night. Bush still pitched six innings in the Brewers’ 4-3 loss. X-rays were negative but Bush was sore Friday. “I don’t think he wants to miss his turn, but it may be a couple days late,” Macha said. … Jurrjens had three wins and three no-decisions in his last six starts and had not lost since a 3-2 loss to St. Louis on April 27.