WP: Freddy Peralta (6-4)
LP: Robert Stephenson (0-2)
SV: Jeremy Jeffress (6)
HR: MIL - Christian Yelich (21, ties career high)
In many, many ways, the Brewers needed a game like this.
Freddy Peralta got through the first inning clean. Christian Yelich got the Brewers on the board early with a home run to lead off the 1st inning. Ryan Braun doubled twice. Travis Shaw and Jonathan Schoop played well defensively at their still-new positions. They were the team to take advantage of some bloop hits falling in. The bullpen didn’t give up a run. And the Brewers won a (relatively) stress-free game, topping the Reds 4-0 to secure a series win.
Billy Hamilton, Jose Peraza and Scooter Gennett don’t make for the most intimidating trio to start a game — even for a guy who’s struggled to settle into a groove in the first inning — but Peralta set them down in order to start the game and put the game on cruise control from there. He gave up just 3 hits — all singles — and only walked 2 batters en route to 7 shutout innings. You could make an argument this was the second-best start of his big league career, behind only his record-breaking 13-strikeout debut.
Peralta even made a mark with his bat, snapping an 0-for-22 streak and picking up his first MLB hit with an RBI single that made the score 2-0 in the 4th inning.
After Tuesday night’s supremely weird 4th inning, the Brewers found themselves the beneficiary of such luck this afternoon in the 6th inning. Jonathan Schoop followed up a nice unassisted double play up the middle in the top half of the inning by leading off the bottom half with a single. Manny Pina followed with a solid single of his own. A perfect sac bunt from Peralta put two runners in scoring position, which proved to be big when Yelich blooped a single into left field and Lorenzo Cain got an infield hit on a chopper over the mound. Both plays scored runs, pushing the Brewers’ lead to 4.
There were still plenty of missed scoring opportunities — those 4 runs were all the team could muster despite another 15 hits and 4 walks, Yelich and Cain combined to get on base 8 times but scored a combined one run with Mike Moustakas and Jesus Aguilar going 0-for-8 — but Peralta was so good on the mound, it was all they needed.
Taylor Williams took over in the 8th inning and things did get more interesting than most of us would have liked with two bloop singles sandwiching a one-out walk, but he was able to get an easy flyball for the second out before giving way to Jeremy Jeffress, who locked down the game with a 4-out save, throwing 16 of 20 pitches for strikes and not allowing another baserunner.
The Brewers have tomorrow off before hosting the Pirates this weekend. Wade Miley will take the ball against Joe Musgrove on Friday night.