ST. LOUIS -- Turnabout may be fair play, but it was no fun for the Cardinals on Saturday.
One day after Jaime Garcia flirted with history, Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo did the same. Gallardo took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and held on for a 4-0 victory over Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals. Lohse turned in a fine start of his own, but it wasn't enough on a day when Gallardo was superb.
Daniel Descalso broke up Gallardo's no-hit bid with a leadoff single in the eighth inning, a clean roller up the middle on the right-hander's 107th pitch of the afternoon. The Cardinals couldn't convert it into any runs, though -- just as they couldn't with walks in each of the preceding three innings.
"He mixed it up well," Descalso said. "He used both sides of the plate. He had his 'A' stuff, and he got the best of us."
The previously struggling Gallardo looked for all the world like the pitcher who had been an All-Star the year before. His stuff remained strong throughout his outing, and although his command occasionally wavered a bit, the Cardinals rarely put him in jeopardy.
One day earlier, Garcia took a bid for a perfect game into the eighth, so history was definitely on just about everyone's mind at Busch Stadium.
"If a pitcher sits there and tells you he isn't thinking about it, I think it's not true," Gallardo said. "I was definitely thinking about it. Of course, it would have been great to achieve that, but most important is just getting a win."
The greatest threats against him came early. In the first inning, Colby Rasmus hit a fly ball all the way to the wall in center field, but Carlos Gomez made an outstanding play to prevent an extra-base hit.
In the fifth, Tyler Greene hit a hard slicing liner to right with two men on, but Mark Kotsay made the play. With Greene's speed and the location of the ball, it likely would have been a triple and a one-run lead for the Cardinals. Instead they were kept off the scoreboard.
"I hit it good -- put it in the corner over there," said Greene. "I watched it on video and saw how close, how nice of a play he made. It's just the way it goes. It's a ball that, if it gets down, I'm definitely thinking three [bases] there. All the way in that corner. I think definitely those two runs score and it's a whole new ballgame."
Descalso's single was squandered in the eighth. in the Cards' last threat of any kind. Greene couldn't get a sacrifice down, Jon Jay grounded into a forceout and Nick Punto flied out to end the inning. The decision to bunt with a 3-0 count was unconventional, but La Russa stood by his choice in a one-run game.
Lohse, meanwhile, was quite effective, certainly good enough to win on most days, but he couldn't match Gallardo. He lasted eight innings, allowing a run on six hits and walking two. His pitches were up quite a bit more than he would have liked, as reflected by more flyball outs than groundouts, but his defense made it work just fine.
He worked around a leadoff double in the second, but he couldn't dodge damage in the third. Prince Fielder drew a two-out walk, and Casey McGehee doubled to right field, sending Fielder home for the game's first run.
"It was supposed to be a sinker down and in," Lohse said. "I think it just got a little too much of the plate. I think I was ahead in the count. I've got to miss off if I miss, and I missed over [the plate]. The walk to Prince hurt, obviously. I wasn't trying to pitch him too carefully. I just missed. Tough lineup, even though they're not hitting."
Milwaukee tacked on three against the Cardinals bullpen in the ninth.
The Cardinals had scored at least one run against the opposing starting pitcher in each of their previous 17 games, and had not allowed a starter to go more than 7 1/3 innings in that same span. St. Louis is the highest-scoring team in the Major Leagues and had not been shut out this year before Saturday.
"[Gallardo] mixed his pitches up," Greene said. "He gives you a fair share of fastballs and a fair share of offspeed pitches. I think he kind of reads you a lot. If he feels you on one of his pitches, he'll change it up. I think he does that really well. He hit his spots. He kept the ball down."
St. Louis fell to 19-15 on the season, and is 1 1/2 games ahead of the Reds in the National League Central. Milwaukee ended a seven-game losing streak.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.