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Gallardo fans a career-high 13 batters

CINCINNATI -- In his last start, Yovani Gallardo stopped a losing streak. On Saturday, the Brewers right-hander made a dent in the history books.

Gallardo, who appears to be getting hot at an opportune time for the Brewers, had a career-high 13 strikeouts -- including four in one inning -- as Milwaukee crept closer to the National League Central title with a 10-1 victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

The win, coupled with the Cardinals' loss in Philadelphia, reduced the Brewers' magic number to five. Milwaukee now leads St. Louis in the NL Central by 6 1/2 games.

"We're focused on ourselves," Ryan Braun said. "We have no control over what St. Louis does. Obviously, we're in the position of power."

The powerful Brewers are packing a punch lately, with Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt homering on Saturday to pace a suddenly resurgent offense that collected 11 hits.

Milwaukee homered five times in Friday night's 6-3 win.

"When you see it for one day, you don't necessarily know if we're back or not," Braun said. "When you see it for a couple days with a lot of different guys contributing, it's a sign that we're headed back in the direction we want to go."

Gallardo had struggled in his career against Cincinnati, posting a 5.76 ERA in 10 starts, including two starts this season in which he allowed eight earned runs in 11 innings.

But it was evident early on that Saturday's outing would be different.

"When I see him come out in the first inning and I see his fastball really jumping, it makes his curveball better, his slider better," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "It makes it difficult to put the ball in play."

Gallardo (17-10) gave up a solo home run to Yonder Alonso in the second, one of just two hits he allowed in six innings.

He fanned 12 in his previous start -- which tied his previous career high -- last Sunday against Philadelphia to snap Milwaukee's five-game losing streak. On Saturday, making his first start against Cincinnati since April 27, Gallardo was dominant, striking out seven through the first four innings.

"I had some trouble with my fastball command early in the game, but it got better," Gallardo said. "I was able to make the big pitch when I needed to. My main focus was keeping the ball down and moving it around the plate."

Then came the historic fifth.

After fanning Devin Mesoraco and Reds starter Edinson Volquez, Gallardo made Brandon Phillips his 10th strikeout victim, but the Reds second baseman reached first when the ball skipped away from catcher Jonathan Lucroy for a wild pitch.

Gallardo then struck out Edgar Renteria to end the inning. The only other Brewers pitcher to record four strikeouts in an inning was Manny Parra on June 6, 2010, at St. Louis.

"He came out from the get-go with good stuff, good location," said Roenicke. "He's got that kind of stuff."

Corey Hart doubled and scored on Braun's broken-bat single to put the Brewers ahead 1-0 in the first. It was Braun's 100th RBI of the season.

Braun joined Cecil Cooper and Prince Fielder as the only Brewers with four 100-RBI seasons. Braun is also the first player in franchise history to have three 100-run, 100-RBI seasons.

"We're at the point in the season where guys are trying to turn it up a notch," Roenicke said. "We had some great at-bats tonight. It's a sign that we're going to get on a good roll offensively."

Alonso tied the score at 1 with a solo home run that just eluded Nyjer Morgan's leaping attempt at the wall in right-center field. But Betancourt answered with a solo homer off Volquez to put the Brewers up 2-1 in the fourth.

Volquez (5-6) allowed five earned runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Braun's 31st home run, a three-run, 412-foot blast off Jose Arredondo in the seventh, put the Brewers ahead 6-1.

Cincinnati had just two hits, tying a season low.

"Things came unraveled," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "We had a 2-0 count on Braun and threw one right down Broadway, and he didn't miss it. Not a lot to say, they beat us up pretty good. We got two hits and one run. It's hard to win like that."

Mark Kotsay's pinch-hit double with the bases loaded off Carlos Fisher drove in three runs to make the score 9-1 in the eighth.

"We had some great at-bats," Braun said. "I thought Volquez really threw the ball well. He had really good stuff tonight, made some great pitches. When you face a starter like that, you just keep battling and compete and hope you can break through. We did that tonight." Comments