Wily Peralta keeps control, starts homestand with win
In one of the best outings of his career, Wily Peralta allowed just two hits and no runs Friday.
By ANDREW GRUMAN FS Wisconsin
MILWAUKEE -- Those needing evidence as to why the
Milwaukee Brewers have stuck with
Wily Peralta through the young right-hander's struggles this season don't need to look any further than Friday night's performance.
In one of the best outings of his career, Peralta allowed just two hits and didn't allow a run for just the second time in his career, as the Brewers opened their six-game homestand with a 2-0 win over Atlanta.
"I think I just needed one like that today," Peralta said. "I just kept the ball down the whole game and made big pitches when I needed to. I think this one makes me more comfortable for my next one."
The latest theme in Peralta's development has been getting him to move past moments of frustration during games. As happens often with young pitchers, Peralta would let hits, walks or moments of bad luck get to him, leaving him unable to move on to the next pitch. The damage would compound, and his start would unravel.
"I thought he kept it in control really well," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "There were a couple of times I could see he was frustrated, but I thought he bounced back well after he was frustrated and made some pitches. He was really down well in the game. His fastball almost every time was down. He started throwing a really good slider and mixed in the change-up. This is the guy that we hope we see. It was really a great job."
Peralta worked around a pair of walks to start the third inning with the help of a bad bunt by Braves pitcher Julio Teheran. Braves center fielder B.J. Upton broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff single in the fifth and went to third on a single by Chris Johnson.
With Teheran at the plate, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez called for a safety squeeze. Peralta hopped off the mound and flipped the ball with his glove to catcher
Martin Maldonado for the out.
"Nice play," Roenicke said. "You have a fast runner on third base, and that play is really hard to defense. The bunt wasn't that bad. He got over there in a hurry and nice flip over. Maldy did a nice job of blocking home plate."
As it turns out, Maldonado did more than block home plate on the play. Like the catcher is supposed to do, he called to Peralta to come home with the ball.
"He broke late to home plate," Peralta said. "Maldy told me to throw home, but I was thinking of going to first. But when I saw him break late, I knew I had a chance to get him out."
Norichika Aoki made a diving catch to end the fifth, keeping the game at 1-0. After Jean Segura's solo home run gave Milwaukee an insurance run, Peralta walked Jason Heyward to start the sixth. Like he did all game long, Peralta stepped up and made big pitches to get out of the inning unscathed.
The 99th and final pitch Peralta threw Friday was fitting. After a one-out walk to Dan Uggla, Peralta got Johnson to hit into an inning-ending double play.
"With having great stuff, if you throw it over the plate, you have a really good chance," Roenicke said. "He's got movement on his fastball. They knew that he threw enough sliders that they have to think about it. He made some really big pitches today."
Stability in the ninth: Though Francisco Rodriguez has pitched well, Roenicke has decided to turn back to
Jim Henderson as the team's closer.
Henderson worked around two walks in the ninth to pick up his 10th save of the season and his first since May 21.
"Henderson is going to be our closer," Roenicke said. "Frankie will be our closer when Henderson has thrown a lot. This is the third game for Henderson, so tomorrow we will probably flip flop it. Henderson will be off tomorrow."
When Henderson went on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Rodriguez stepped up and filled the void admirably. Sitting on 299 career saves, Rodriguez has allowed just one run in 14 1/3 innings this season, and his scoreless eighth inning Friday lowered his ERA to 0.63.
"Frankie was outstanding in his inning," Roenicke said. "That's about as well as you can throw the ball. Henderson in his inning, I don't know. Maybe a little nervous in that role again, but he made some big pitches when he needed to."