MILWAUKEE — If Wily Peralta was to snap his three-start winless streak Friday night he was going to have to be nearly perfect. It’s a theme developing in the rookie right-hander’s starts, as the Milwaukee Brewers simply haven’t provided him with much support.
Facing Angels ace Jered Weaver, the Brewers were shutout for the sixth time this season and left 13 runners on base in a 5-0 loss to Los Angeles.
Milwaukee didn’t score a run for Peralta before he was taken out for the MLB-leading 11th time since May 12 and the sixth time in his last eight starts. Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes is second in that timeframe with seven such starts.
“It’s tough because you have to keep the game on the line,” Peralta said. “On those kind of days, I just try to put zeros on the board. I just gave up a homer early on. I left a couple of men on and they scored those. When you face pitchers like Weaver, that’s tough.
“You don’t want to be the first one to give up the run. You try to keep the game on the line. If you don’t get much run support and you give up a run early, that’s going to be it for the game.”
Some of Milwaukee’s offensive struggles with Peralta on the mound can be credited to the quality of pitchers he’s faced. On Friday, Weaver joined Stephen Strasburg, Matt Cain and Felix Hernandez as opposing aces Peralta has squared off against.
Peralta admitted he’s aware of who is on the mound against him and it puts added pressure on each pitch he makes.
“When you face good pitchers you can’t make mistakes,” Peralta said. “You have to keep the games on the line and make one pitch at a time. Those kind of pitchers, they don’t make mistakes. I made one today and I gave up a homer.”
Angels rookie Kole Calhoun got Peralta for a solo home run in the fourth inning and would have stood up in the end. Peralta settled down and set down the next eight batters, but began to come undone in the seventh inning.
Peralta walked Calhoun on a 3-2 pitch and then allowed a single to Mark Trumbo on a full-count offering. With two runners on and nobody out, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke opted to turn to reliever Rob Wooten. Both inherited runners plus two of his own scored against Wooten, as rookie second baseman Grant Green cleared the bases with a one-out double.
“I still felt really strong,” Peralta said. “I walked the first guy and then gave up a single. I still felt strong. It’s that kind of thing where you don’t want to go out but it’s a manager’s decision. It’s hard to take it, but I think he saw something. He made the decision and I respect that.”
Down just 1-0 at the time, Roenicke probably would have pinch hit for Peralta if he would have come up in the sixth inning, but eighth hitter Martin Maldonado struck out with two on to end the inning.
Milwaukee had its best chance to score in the fourth inning, but couldn’t plate a run after loading the bases with one out. Ahead in the count 3-0, Maldonado got the green light and swung away, popping up to the catcher. Peralta then flew out to center to end the inning.
“Our offense is going to be a little inconsistent,” Roenicke said. “When you don’t have the big boys in there that you need to have, you’re going to be inconsistent. And we have been. Lately we’ve done a nice job with it.
“You still have to keep us in the game, and Wily did that tonight. We didn’t do much off Weaver. We had some chances off him, but we didn’t get that big hit when we needed it.”
By tossing six shutout innings Friday, Weaver lowered his road ERA in interleague games since 2008 to 1.82, the second-lowest in baseball behind Hernandez.
“He was on,” Roenicke said. “I’ve seen him a lot better. But he was on. The guy knows how to pitch, he knows how to get hitters out, he knows how to change speeds. He’s one of the best competitors that I’ve seen out on the mound.
“When you have a chance and you don’t get to him, you’re going to be in trouble.”