Freddy Peralta allows only two hits in eight innings and struck out 11 batters on Wednesday. (Photo: Joe Robbins, Getty Images)
CINCINNATI – Freddy Peralta delivered the first gem of the Milwaukee Brewers' launch of the season on Wednesday afternoon, and his team needed everything they needed.
Peralta blanked the Cincinnati Reds in two hits in eight innings, with no walks and 11 strikeouts, while the Brewers completed a three-game sweep with a 1-0 victory at Great American Ball Park.
The Brewers' fifth straight win increased his record to 6-1, including five wins for a single race.
With Josh Hader unavailable after releasing the first two games of the series, Alex Wilson took over in the ninth. He allowed an out walk to Tucker Barnhart and retired the next two batters before Matt Kemp hit a single to put runners in the corners and keep the Reds alive.
Wilson induced Eugenio Suárez to take the lead in second place to finish the game and register his first save with the Brewers.
POINT OF SCORE: Brewers 1, Red 0
Peralta is known primarily as a fastball, fastball pitcher, and that certainly was true on this day. Of the 100 pitches he pitched, including 72 for strikes, 84 were fastballs. And of the 24 outs he registered, none were in the dirt balls.
The Brewers scored the only run in the second inning, thanks to a mental lapse of Reds starter Luis Castillo after a walk by Jesús Aguilar. Castillo turned to throw a shot to the first, but Joey Votto was not covering the bag, so Castillo held the ball and was accused of balk. Votto was not covering the bag because heavy Aguilar has never tried to steal in the big leagues.
Manny Piña made Castillo pay for that error by bouncing a two-out single in the middle to score Aguilar with the first run of the game.
That would be the only stroke and race that the Brewers handled against Castillo in his seven innings of work. The bed hitters throughout the game with his change, Castillo worked on four walks and scored nine strikeouts.
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With two down in the bottom of the eighth, the Reds got their second shot from Peralta when Curt Casali hit a single to the left. The manager of the Reds, David Bell, sent Yasiel Puig to an emerging blow, setting in motion a fierce duel in which Puig maintained the fastballs of Peralta.
After throwing seven consecutive fastballs to Puig, Peralta met with Piña on the mound and left with a curved ball in the dirt, which the batter saluted uselessly for the 11th strikeout for the Brewers pitcher.
Sockets of keys
JEFFRESS IS MOVING FORWARD: Reliever Jeremy Jeffress, on the way back from shoulder weakness, pitched a live batting practice on Tuesday in Arizona and will make his next appearance on Friday for the AAA San Antonio Clbad in Oklahoma City. "He had a good start yesterday," said manager Craig Counsell. "All good signs." The Brewers expect Jeffress to be ready to rejoin the club in a couple of weeks.
ARCIA DOES NOT ADAPT: Orlando Arcia led the Brewers' fifth position with a run to third baseman Suarez and did not rush to first base. Suarez threw the ball twice and it is likely that Arcia had been safe at first if he had run out of the box, but instead he was sent off.
CAIN gets into the game: It was a free day scheduled for the Brewers' center fielder, Lorenzo Cain, but he entered the game in the eighth inning as a hitter for Ben Gamel. Counsell made the move when the Reds replaced Castillo with left-handed Amir Garrett. Cain bent and later stole the third with two down, but was stranded.
THIS YEAR: 6-1
LAST YEAR: 4-3
THURSDAY: Day off.
FRIDAY: Puppies in Brewers, 7:10 p.m. Milwaukee RHP Brandon Woodruff (1-0, 3.60) against Chicago LHP Jose Quintana (0-0, 4.50). TV: FS Wisconsin. Radio: AM-620.