PITTSBURGH (AP) – Rookie Freddy Peralta allowed two hits in six stellar innings, Jesus Aguilar hammered his 14th home run of the season and the Milwaukee Brewers cooled off the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Peralta (2-0) struck out seven without issuing a walk, surrendering only singles to Corey Dickerson and Colin Moran in the fourth but otherwise keeping the Pirates firmly in check.
Aguilar finished 2 for 3 and drove in all three runs off Jameson Taillon (4-6). Aguilar hit a two-run shot to the seats in right-center in the first and doubled down the line in left field in the third. Corey Knebel worked around a two-out walk in the ninth for his seventh save for the first-place Brewers.
Starling Marte hit his ninth home run of the season in the eighth off Milwaukee reliever Jeremy Jeffress to pull Pittsburgh with one. Jordy Mercer had an RBI double in the seventh but Pittsburgh’s offense mustered little with Peralta on the mound.
The 22-year-old attacked the Pirates high in the strike zone and didn’t allow a runner to reach third. He threw 62 of his 99 pitches for strikes and only Marte seemed able to generate solid contact. He reached second in the first when Milwaukee right fielder Eric Thames couldn’t handle a drive that bounced off his glove near the wall.
Peralta retired Moran on a lineout and settled in to protect the early lead provided by Aguilar.
Taillon, coming off a solid outing in a win in Arizona last week, had plenty of swing-and-miss stuff – he recorded seven strikeouts in five innings – but had no answer for Aguilar. Lorenzo Cain led off the game with an infield single and two batters later Aguilar put one in the seats to put Milwaukee up 2-0.
A nearly identical sequence happened in the third. Cain reached on an infield hit and Aguilar laced the ball to left with Cain scoring easily.
That was more than enough for Peralta, who looked more like the pitcher who tied a franchise record with 13 strikeouts in his major league debut on May 13 than the one who gave up four runs in four innings against Minnesota on May 19 before heading back to the minors.
OH SAY CAN YOU SEE
Pirates reliever Steven Brault moonlights as the front man in a rock band called The Street Gypsies. He found himself in front of a microphone on Tuesday night, only this time the audience wasn’t a night club but PNC Park. The 26-year-old belted out “The Star-Spangled Banner” before first pitch, delivering on a promise he made to his grandmother. He also did it to provide proof that ballplayers can have a life outside the game.
“A big part of it is showing people, showing kids, that it’s OK to do other things,” Brault said. “I think that’s really important. It’s something I really live by.”
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (right rotator cuff inflammation) was scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday night.
Pirates: Austin Meadows was held out of the starting lineup for a second straight game while dealing with a right foot injury suffered when he fouled a ball off it on Sunday.
Brewers: Brent Suter will make his first career start against the Pirates in the series finale on Wednesday. Suter is 5-1 with a 3.24 ERA in his last six starts and 7-4 with a 4.30 ERA overall.
Pirates: Chad Kuhl (5-3, 3.76) is unbeaten against Milwaukee, going 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA. The Pirates are 6-0 overall in games Kuhl has started against the Brewers.
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