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Peralta leads Brewers to win over Reds

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Wily Peralta (38) hits a two-run double off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake during the fifth inning Friday night at Great American Ball Park. Reds catcher Brayan Pena is at left. The Brewers won 2-0. (David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports)

By Jeff Wallner

The Sports Xchange

CINCINNATI -- Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Wily Peralta had solid command of his fastball on Friday night. He had pretty good command of the fastball as a hitter, too.

Peralta allowed just three hits over eight shutout innings and drove in the decisive runs with a two-run double in the fifth, lifting Milwaukee to a 2-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

“He’s driving the ball every game. Great swing, and we certainly needed it,” said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. “He had a great fastball, commanded it well. Slider was outstanding. The second half of the season last year, this is what he did.”

Peralta (4-1) overcame a rough first inning on Friday night, finishing with two walks and seven strikeouts over 110 pitches and a season-high eight innings.

Cincinnati (13-16) could not take advantage of its few opportunities against Peralta, going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Two of the three hits allowed by Peralta were doubles with less than two outs, but neither produced a run for the Reds.

After the sluggish first inning, Peralta cruised through the next four with just 49 pitches.

“It was location,” said Peralta of his 24-pitch first inning. “I was leaving some fastballs up early in the game that were fouled off. When I locate my fastball down in the zone, it doesn’t matter what the count is. That’s my best pitch.”

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy went 3-for-4 with a double for Milwaukee, which improved its major-league leading record to 21-9.

With two outs in the fifth inning and runners on second and third, Reds starter Mike Leake threw a 93-mph fastball on the first pitch and Peralta laced it into right-center field for a double. “It was right down the middle,” Peralta said.

“I probably could’ve made a better pitch with the first pitch, because you know a pitcher likes to hack,” Leake said.

Aside from Peralta’s double, Leake (2-3) was impressive, pitching eight innings and allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

“What can you say when a guy goes out and gives you eight innings,” said Reds manager Bryan Price. “It was unfortunate that it was the pitcher who hit the double, but in the end, you know those guys are dangerous, too, Peralta didn’t give us anything to get excited about.”

Francisco Rodriguez improved to 14-for-14 in save situations with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. He leads the National League in saves.

Peralta’s outing provided a much-needed respite for Milwaukee’s beleaguered bullpen with two games remaining in the series in Cincinnati. “It was nice to give them a little bit of rest,” Peralta said. “They’ll be ready for the next two days.”

Leake retired the first nine batters he faced, including three consecutive strikeouts in the second inning.

Milwaukee had runners on first and third with one out in the fourth, but third baseman Aramis Ramirez extended his hitless streak to 27 at-bats by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto began the fourth with a drive off the top of the left-center field wall. It was ruled a double and confirmed as such after a one-minute, 25-second review by crew chief Jerry Layne. But Votto was left stranded.

“I thought it was gone,” said Peralta. “Thank God it wasn’t.”

“Jerry Layne was on his way to the replay before I could get to him,” Price said. “He knew it needed to be reviewed. It has to go over the yellow and out of the park. They got it right.”

Overshadowed by yet another victory was the fact that Milwaukee went just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Friday. Roenicke knows that without Peralta’s double, the Brewers would’ve been in a dicey situation.

“We continue to pitch well and that’s why we’re winning,” Roenicke said. “But we need to be better when we get those opportunities. We need to drive in those baserunners.”

NOTES: It was RHP Wily Peralta’s second double of the season and it produced the first RBIs of his career. ... Milwaukee placed RHP Jim Henderson on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and recalled OF Caleb Gindl from Triple-A Nashville. ... Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman will make his second rehabilitation start for Class A Dayton on Saturday at Lake County. If all goes well, Chapman will continue his rehab at Triple-A Louisville. ... Reds Cs Devin Mesoraco, Brayan Pena and Tucker Barnhart lead the major leagues at their position in batting average, doubles, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and OPS. ... Reds CF Billy Hamilton was out of the lineup on Friday after spraining the third and fourth knuckles on his left hand making a diving catch of CF Carlos Gomez’s line drive in the first inning on Thursday.