PHOENIX -- Yovani Gallardo is taking his opening day start for the Milwaukee Brewers seriously, and wanted to use his final spring outing to be sure he was ready.
He is.The 24-year-old right-hander gave up three hits in four shutout innings against a Cubs split squad, and the Brewers used an eight-run eighth inning to beat Chicago 12-7 on Wednesday.When Gallardo pitches against Colorado in the opener, he said he will "go out and try to have some fun, just try to do some of the same things I've been doing this spring."Some of those things would be making adjustments, keeping the ball down and not rushing himself where his body "flies open" when he delivers the ball.After finishing 13-12 in 30 starts last season, Gallardo came into camp and began to clean up his mechanics and issue fewer walks. He is 2-1 with a 4.29 ERA in six starts and has walked seven in 21 innings. He did not walk a batter on Wednesday."I wanted to be able to do the things that allow me to go deeper into ballgames," he said.Brewers manager Ken Macha said Gallardo has learned to control his emotions better and now is rarely flustered. He said right-hander Dan Haren followed a similar path as a young pitcher when he was with the Oakland Athletics and Macha was the manager.First baseman Prince Fielder gave a big indication that he, too, is ready for the regular season by launching a grand slam in the third inning.The shot, which caromed off the large blue batter's eye in center field, came off right-hander Jay Jackson, who made 16 starts in Double-A, seven in Class A and one in Triple-A in 2009. Fielder is hitting .273 this spring with two homers and 13 RBIs.The Cubs rallied for three runs in the seventh inning, using three doubles to take the lead. Micah Hoffpauir's two-run double was the key hit.Then came the Brewers' outburst in the eighth. A two-run double by Ray Olmedo put the team ahead to stay. Adam Stern's two-run single, one of his three hits on the day, kept things rolling.
After missing the last four games with stiffness in his lower back, left fielder Ryan Braun returned to the lineup on Wednesday and was 0 for 3 with a walk, scoring on Fielder's grand slam. ... Right fielder Corey Hart saw his average drop to .127 and has just one hit in his last 27 at-bats. He could be in danger of losing his starting job. ... Catcher Gregg Zaun remained out with a strained quadriceps, but Macha said he could have played if it was the regular season. ... Veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds is away from camp, attending to a family matter, and it is uncertain when he will return. ... Cubs rookie outfielder Tyler Colvin stretched his hitting streak to nine games, with four doubles, two triples and a home run. ... Infielder Chad Tracy had two more hits after hitting a game-winning two-run homer against San Francisco on Tuesday.