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Cruz hits 2 more HRs, but O's fall to Brewers 8-3 after Gallardo earns victory with arm

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MILWAUKEE - Nelson Cruz's two latest home runs weren't enough to keep the Baltimore Orioles from leaving town with a second straight loss.

Once again, they got beat by Milwaukee Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo.

A day after getting a win with his bat, Gallardo earned a victory with his arm and overcame the two solo shots by Cruz in an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Wednesday night.

Ryan Braun hit an early two-run double and Khris Davis added a three-run homer in the eighth, his third shot in three games.

Cruz leads the majors with 19 home runs. He has three homers in two days, and 12 in May.

He's never had such a prolific month in the majors.

"Maybe in the minors, but not in the big leagues," Cruz said. "I think the approach I've been taking the last few weeks has been pretty good."

The Brewers' batters were better on Wednesday. They took early advantage of Bud Norris (3-5), who allowed four runs, five hits and three walks in six innings.

Braun hit a hard chopper down the first-base line for his two-out double with runners on second and third. Milwaukee scored four times in the eighth off relievers Brad Brach and Brian Matusz after Baltimore had drawn within 4-3.

That inning was capped by Davis' high fly that sailed past the left-field pole for his ninth homer of the season.

"We let that eighth inning get away from us. I liked our chances there if we could have held it to one run," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said.

The NL Central-leading Brewers took two of three in the first interleague series between the teams since 2008.

On Tuesday night, Gallardo delivered a game-winning RBI double as a pinch-hitter in the 10th inning. He went 1 for 2 on Wednesday, though the rest of the lineup took care of the offence.

"To add on late like that — huge," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We keep waiting for one of those and we got it."

On the mound, Gallardo (3-3) gave up three runs on four hits and five walks in 6 2-3 innings. He also went 1 for 2 at the plate.

Gallardo walked the bases loaded in the fourth with two outs, escaping by getting Jonathan Schoop to ground out.

Showalter lamented about the missed opportunity.

"That won't happen much with (Gallardo) and we need to do a better job of taking advantage of it," he said.

Gallardo left after Nick Markakis doubled with two outs in the seventh. Brandon Kintzler relieved and gave up singles to Manny Machado and Adam Jones.

Lefty reliever Will Smith made a wild pickoff throw, then struck out Chris Davis swinging with runners on second and third to end the inning.

Smith, the setup man with a potent slider, struck out four in 1 1-3 scoreless innings.

At least Cruz's nice series gave the Orioles a bright spot. He leads the AL with 48 RBIs and extended his hitting streak to nine games.

"Nellie, he's a perennial hitter. We've seen him for years in other leagues and everything else, but to have him over here in Baltimore has been outstanding," Norris said. "We just don't want him to cool off at all. We want to keep him going."

NOTES: Orioles LHP Johan Santana, signed as a minor league free agent during the off-season after missing all of the 2013 season following shoulder surgery, is likely to make one more outing in extended spring training, Showalter said. The Orioles would then like the former Cy Young Award winner to make at least two minor league starts. ... Baltimore sends Ubaldo Jimenez (2-6) to the mound Thursday in the opener of a four-game series in Houston. Milwaukee is off Thursday before returning Friday with Marco Estrada (4-2) against the Chicago Cubs.

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