Coming off two starts in which he didn't make it through six innings and allowed a combined 10 earned runs to raise his ERA from 2.12 to 3.03, Milwaukee's Wily Peralta overcame a shaky first two innings to work into the seventh on Wednesday.
With a lot weighing on his mind, Wily Peralta put his last two starts in the rear-view mirror and got back on track with his best outing in over two weeks.
Peralta, who left the team following the game to return home to the Dominican Republic to tend to a family matter, allowed just one run on four hits over 6 1/3 innings on Wednesday night. His efforts helped the Milwaukee Brewers overcome a few wasted opportunities offensively in a 3-1 victory over the New York Mets at Citi Field.
"Wily was really good," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Command was a lot better. His fastball was down in the zone better, slider was better. He threw more changeups today.
"I thought he pitched today instead of fighting through things and just trying to throw as hard as he could. He still had a great fastball, but I thought he pitched better today. He was under control better, I thought his emotions were better. I like what he did."
Coming off two starts in which he didn’t make it through six innings and allowed a combined 10 earned runs to raise his ERA from 2.12 to 3.03, Peralta overcame a shaky first two innings to work into the seventh.
The Mets’ lone run off Peralta came due in part to a walk, as the right-hander issued a free pass to Curtis Granderson to start the second inning.
Granderson went to third on a well-placed single by Bobby Abreu and scored on a Lucas Duda sacrifice fly.
"I just think he’s relaxed and working down in the zone," Lucroy said of Peralta. "Whenever he does that he’s better than anybody out there, I think. His stuff is so hard and late moving. It’s really hard to square the ball up when it is moving like that."
The Brewers answered with a manufactured run of their own in the third and took the lead on a Jean Segura RBI single in the fourth inning. Milwaukee had a golden chance to take the lead in the first inning with the bases loaded and one out, but Aramis Ramirez and Khris Davis struck out to end the threat.
Carlos Gomez gave the Brewers a 3-1 lead with a run-scoring infield single in the fifth, but opportunities to extend the lead were wasted by Milwaukee. A tough-luck line-drive double play on a hit-and-run hurt the Brewers in the fifth inning, while committing the first out at the plate in the seventh was equally as painful.
With Ryan Braun on first base, Lucroy doubled with nobody out in the seventh. Third-base coach Ed Sedar took a risk and sent Braun, but the Mets executed a perfect relay and got the out at the plate. Instead of runners at second and third with no outs, the Brewers ended up not scoring in the inning when Gomez popped out to second base and Ramirez struck out.
"All the credit right now goes to the pitching staff for keeping us there," Lucroy said. "Wily did a great job of executing pitches tonight and so did the bullpen. It was awesome.
"You don’t need many runs with your guys throwing like that. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of back there. They made big pitches when they had to in big situations."
Roenicke opted to take Peralta out of the game with a runner on and one out in the seventh despite the right-hander sitting at just 92 pitches.
Milwaukee’s skipper ended up using left-hander Zach Duke for one batter and right-hander Rob Wooten for the final out of the inning.
"He’s been fighting it, as you guys know," Roenicke said. "(Pitching coach Rick Kranitz) and I were talking about it. Where he was in the game, I thought he did a great job. We have been leaving him out there for a lot of pitches. I thought it was a point in the game — I didn’t want anything to go wrong there because of what he had done.
"I probably could have gone with Wily longer, I could have gone with Duke longer, there are some things I could have done, but I wanted to win this game."
On most nights, the Brewers would have been burned for letting so many scoring opportunities fall apart, but Peralta was back to the pitcher he was for most of the first two months of the season.
"Wily is a big key in what we are doing this year," Roenicke said. "We know what we think we are going to get from the three veterans, and now the pieces between Wily and Marco are really important. As I’ve talked about before, he has a big upside in what he can do.
"Wily can be a guy that can reel off eight or 10 straight wins. He has that kind of dominating stuff. If we can get him to do that, he is a great addition with the other guys and what they can do."