MILWAUKEE -- In this modern age of situational lefties, lock-down closers and multi-million-dollar pitching contracts, complete games are something of a rarity.
For the Milwaukee Brewers
, they're almost a foreign concept, having gone 407 games without a starter working from first to final pitch.
It's understandable, then, that the announced crowd of 25,369 at Miller Park rose to its feet as Wily Peralta
came out to work the ninth inning of the Brewers' 2-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds
Peralta became the first Milwaukee starter to toss a complete game since Yovani Gallardo went the distance against Atlanta on April 5, 2011 with perhaps the finest effort of his short career, giving up just three hits and four walks with six strikeouts.
It was even more impressive considering Peralta left his last start early due to a sore hamstring, which manager Ron Roenicke said wasn't a factor Tuesday.
"That was really nice to see," Roenicke said. "Wily had outstanding command today down in the zone with a really good sinker. I really thought he got the slider working well as the game went on. Threw some good changeups. Quite a ball game."
Peralta (6-9) had struggled in two previous starts against Cincinnati this season, going 0-2 with a 5.78 ERA, but he was at his best Tuesday. In his last four starts, Peralta is 2-1 with a 1.02 ERA.
"He didn't make many mistakes," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Last time we saw him, he made quite a few. He had good breaking stuff, a good changeup and (catcher Martin) Maldonado called a great game for him. He was in control the whole way, we only had a few opportunities."
When the Reds did get chances against Peralta, his defense -- maligned by a rash of errors over the last few games -- came through big. Milwaukee picked off a runner at first, caught another trying to score and turned three double plays. Jeff Bianchi
and Jean Segura combined to preserve Peralta's shutout bid in the seventh.
Derrick Robinson's two-out triple to left got past Bianchi, who eventually recovered the ball. As Robinson turned at third, Segura cut off Bianchi's throw and rifled it to Maldonado, who applied the tag just in time to catch Robinson at the plate, ending the inning.
Replays showed Robinson might have beaten the tag, but Baker wasn't going to argue.
"Where we were, it looked like he might have blocked the plate on him," Baker said. "You [reporters] saw it better than we did but when things aren't going good, those kind of things happen."
Peralta's defense came through again in the eighth. After a leadoff walk to Jack Hannahan, Peralta got Ryan Hanigan
to strike out before pinch-hitter Xavier Paul ended the inning by bouncing into a double play.
Peralta was allowed to hit for himself in the eighth, assuring him a chance to finish it out.
"It's a great feeling," Peralta said. "I got a little bit of adrenaline going. It was my first time that I threw in the ninth inning. It was exciting."
After throwing 93 pitches through the first eight innings, Peralta's biggest challenge came in the ninth. He allowed a two-out walk to Joey Votto, who advanced to second on a wild pitch before Brandon Phillips grounded out to short to end the game.
"It was going to be a bad decision if Phillips got on there," Roenicke said.
As good as Peralta was, Cincinnati starter Tony Cingrani was almost better.
Cingrani (3-1) matched Peralta pitch for pitch early on, scattering just two hits through his first four innings in his second start since returning to the Reds' starting rotation.
He went seven innings and finished with two runs on three hits plus two walks and 10 strikeouts, one off the career high he set April 28 at Washington.
"Cingrani actually threw a better game," Baker said. "He had more strikeouts. But there's only one left-handed hitter in the lineup. He walks Maldonado and the only left-handed hitter in the lineup hits a home run."
Logan Schafer put the Brewers on the board in the fifth, following Maldonado's leadoff walk with his first career home run to give Milwaukee a 2-0 lead.
"I tried to get ahead of Schafer and he jumps me," Cingrani said. "It's frustrating; I thought I did my job."
Ryan Braun returned to the Brewers' lineup for the first time since going on the disabled list with a right hand injury June 10. He singled in his first at-bat and went 1-for-3 before giving way to Bianchi in the seventh inning.
NOTES: Cincinnati C Hanigan was back in the lineup. Hanigan had been a late scratch Monday due to a sore wrist. ... Brewers RF Norichika Aoki was scratched from the starting lineup less than an hour before the game due to tightness in his left elbow. ... Reds LF Chris Heisey left the game in the second inning after being hit by a pitch. X-rays revealed no fracture.
- Sports & Recreation
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Cincinnati Reds
- Wily Peralta
- Dusty Baker
- Jeff Bianchi
- Ron Roenicke