Freddy Peralta was the talk of baseball on Mother’s Day when he struck out 13 batters in his debut.
His second start didn’t go nearly as smooth, but the Brewers’ bullpen was one again untouchable and Christian Yelich once again delivered the decisive blow late with an 8th inning home run to give the Brewers a 5-4 win over the Twins.
If you’ve been following the daily minor league recaps, you know that Peralta can have the tendency to lose his control and occasionally run into trouble. That’s the version of Peralta we saw on Saturday night, as he struggled with command and a more tightly-called strike zone than the one he enjoyed in his first start. He pitched into the 5th inning but walked the leadoff man in 4 of those innings, on his way to walking 6 before being pulled in favor of Dan Jennings.
Considering the walks, the damage against Peralta could’ve (or should’ve) been worse, but he was able to limit the Twins to just 3 hits. All of the damage came on just 2 of those hits -- a two-strike, two-out, two-run double by catcher Bobby Wilson in the second inning and a two-run home run by the debuting Jake Cave in the 4th inning.
Luckily, the Brewers’ lineup picked up Peralta both times and got him off the hook. Jesus Aguilar tied the game at 2 in the 4th inning with another home run -- his third of the series -- that cut through the swirling wind at Target Field to dead center field.
After Peralta gave up the home run to Cave in the bottom half of that inning, Manny Pina stayed hot in the top of the 5th with a double off the top of the tall wall in right field at Target Field, driving in Jonathan Villar all the way from first base. Pina eventually scored the tying run on a wild pitch by Twins rookie pitcher Fernando Romero.
From there, the Milwaukee bullpen mowed through the Twins’ patchwork lineup. Dan Jennings, Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader covered the next 15 outs, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks over the game’s final 5 innings. Both hits and one of the walks belonged to Jennings.
Hader was (again) especially impressive, coming on in relief of Jeffress with 2 outs in the 7th and finishing the game. He got 7 outs, and the last 6 of those were strikeouts. No Twins player was especially close to making contact against him in the 8th or 9th inning.
In between, Yelich was able to slice an opposite field home run in the 8th inning to give the Brewers the run they needed to eek out the win. Yelich is now 20-for-60 this month, including 2 doubles and a home run in the last week, driving in 6 runs.
The Brewers improve to 28-18, and now have the most wins in the National League. Regardless of what happens Sunday afternoon, they’ve already guaranteed a very successful roadtrip by winning 7 of their past 9 games. They have a chance to match last season’s high water mark of 11 games over .500 if they can complete the sweep.
Junior Guerra takes the ball against Jake Odorizzi at 1:10 p.m. CDT tomorrow.