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Gallardo exits on top in return to rotation

Righty limits Yankees to three solo homers over five innings in no-decision
Special to MLB.com

SEATTLE -- In his first start in more than a month, veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo allowed three solo home runs on Sunday against the Yankees, but he also put up a scoreless final inning after the Mariners had rallied for the lead.

Gallardo, who was removed from the rotation after struggling early, allowed three runs on five hits in five innings, striking out five and walking three in his first start since June 17. He did not get the decision when the Yankees rallied for a 6-4 victory.

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SEATTLE -- In his first start in more than a month, veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo allowed three solo home runs on Sunday against the Yankees, but he also put up a scoreless final inning after the Mariners had rallied for the lead.

Gallardo, who was removed from the rotation after struggling early, allowed three runs on five hits in five innings, striking out five and walking three in his first start since June 17. He did not get the decision when the Yankees rallied for a 6-4 victory.

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The Mariners got Gallardo off the hook with a four-run fourth and he responded with a perfect fifth inning, departing with a 4-3 lead after 78 pitches. He allowed a leadoff homer to Brett Gardner in the first, and two solo shots by Didi Gregorius in the second and fourth, respectively.

"Obviously, the first hitter of the game, you're down 1-0, and then you give up those next two solo home runs," said Gallardo, who pitched out of the stretch all game, which is what he did coming out of the bullpen "You've just got to leave it at that. You can't let the innings get out of hand, just give up one run and try to limit it and leave it there and give the guys a chance to swing the bat.

"I was able to get some huge outs whenever I needed to, and get some groundouts," said Gallardo. "Just putting up that zero after those four runs."

Gallardo, who had not pitched out of the bullpen since his rookie season with Milwaukee in 2007, was 3-7 with a 6.30 ERA in his first 15 starts this season, but allowed just one earned run in 11 1/3 innings in four relief appearances.

"I thought he was a little tentative early versus what we saw out of the bullpen," manager Scott Servais said. "I thought out of the bullpen he was a little bit more aggressive, attacking, a little bit like there's nothing to lose. It's a little bit different when you're coming out of the bullpen and you're pitching maybe on the bad side of game, versus going out trying to establish the tempo of the game.

"So, maybe not quite as aggressive as we'd seen him coming out of the bullpen, which is kind of what we were looking for," Servais said.

Gallardo won 72 games over one five-year stretch with the Brewers and was 13-11 with a 3.42 ERA in 33 starts with Texas in 2015. He dipped to 6-8 with a 5.42 ERA with Baltimore last season.

"I've never been in this situation before. This is the first time in my career that I was in the bullpen and then coming back and getting to start," said Gallardo, who entered the season with a 3.79 career ERA. "I found myself a bit more relaxed. I know I gave up those three home runs, but even then it was solo home run, solo home run, solo home run. Just leave it at that, make pitches and focus on the next hitter coming up to bat."

Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Seattle. He covered the Mariners on Sunday.

Seattle Mariners, Yovani Gallardo