The Sports Xchange

By Andrew Wagner, The Sports Xchange

Peralta first to 14 wins as Brewers beat Giants

MILWAUKEE -- Sure, the Milwaukee Brewers' bullpen has been faltering, the offense has been streaky at best and the one-time comfortable lead atop the National League Central is down to a game.

But as long as the Brewers have Wily Peralta, they have to like their chances.

Peralta (14-6), a second-year right-hander, put forth yet another ace-like performance, holding the San Francisco Giants to one run and seven hits in six-plus innings of Milwaukee's 3-1 victory Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.

"When we need a good start he's going to do whatever he can to give us that start and it's worked well for him," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "If he can continue this through, which we need him to do ... and he doesn't have to be that good. Just continue to give us those good starts."

Peralta also set a career high with nine strikeouts and walked just one batter for his fifth consecutive victory, making him the first pitcher in baseball to win 14 this season.

"That feels amazing," Peralta said. "There's a lot of great starting pitchers out there, and to be able to be leading the league, that's amazing, a great feeling. That's a thing that I've been working hard (for) in the offseason and been working hard in the season to be on top. It feels amazing."

Along with his nine strikeouts, Peralta also induced 11 ground-ball outs on the day.

"It shows that they're down in the zone," Roenicke said. "Sometimes it's on purpose, but when he wanted to get them down he kept them down well."

Early on, it looked as if Peralta might not be on his game. He allowed the first three batters to reach in the first inning, then plunked left fielder Michael Morse with two outs before escaping the inning unscathed.

From there, he settled in quickly and held San Francisco to two hits and a walk in the next three innings.

The Giants' only run came in the fifth inning when starter Jake Peavy struck out but reached on a wild pitch, then scored after center fielder Angel Pagan and right fielder Hunter Pence had back-to-back singles.

Pagan and Pence both finished with two hits apiece, as did first baseman Buster Posey. But San Francisco struck out 12 times against Brewers pitching and went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position while stranding nine.

Pagan was activated from the 15-day disabled list Thursday morning and back in the lineup for the first time since straining his back on June 14.

"He bounced around well," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's a pretty good start for him."

Milwaukee's offense managed nine hits off Peavy (0-3), but after getting on the board with an RBI double by right fielder Ryan Braun in the first inning, the Brewers couldn't do much else against the veteran right-hander, who worked into the sixth and gave up nine hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

"He gave us a nice, gutsy effort out there," Bochy said. "He battled well."

They finally broke through in the sixth inning, taking a 2-1 lead on back-to-back doubles by third baseman Aramis Ramirez and left fielder Khris Davis.

After a single by second baseman Rickie Weeks, first baseman Mark Reynolds gave the Brewers a two-run lead with a sacrifice fly to left.

Right-hander Jeremy Jeffress and left-hander Will Smith bridged the gap to closer Francisco Rodriguez, who posted his 34th save with a perfect ninth inning.

NOTES: To make room for CF Angel Pagan on the 25-man roster, San Francisco optioned INF Matt Duffy to Double-A Richmond. ... Brewers manager Ron Roenicke announced that RHP Mike Fiers will be recalled from Triple-A Nashville and start Saturday against the Dodgers in place of RHP Matt Garza, who went on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained left oblique. ... Giants 1B Brandon Belt was given the day off after suffering from headaches Wednesday night. Team doctors examined Belt and determined the headaches were not related to a concussion suffered July 20 which caused him to miss 12 games. ... Rickie Weeks started at 2B for Milwaukee in place of Scooter Gennett, who returned to the lineup Wednesday after battling a sore left quad for the past week. Roenicke said the plan was to rest Gennett in the day game after a night game.