Wily Peralta had been dynamite lately, going 6-1 in his last seven starts with a 1.59 ERA and 1.125 WHIP since getting pounded for nine runs by the Philadelphia Phillies on July 8.
Looking for his major-league leading 16th win Saturday, Peralta instead was lit up by a hitter who hadn’t done much of anything in August and it led to Peralta blowing sky high in a 10-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park.
With the Milwaukee Brewers leading 2-0, Peralta gave up a three-run home run in the top of the fourth inning to slumping Pedro Alvarez that put the Pirates on top 3-2. Peralta (15-8) then gave up five more runs in the fifth—including another homer to Alvarez—that put the game out of reach.
With the loss, Milwaukee (71-58) saw its lead in the National League Central shrink to just a half-game over the St. Louis Cardinals, who won at Philadelphia 6-5 on Saturday. The Pirates closed to within four games of the division lead.
The Brewers have lost three straight since winning five in a row.
But Peralta ran into trouble from there. With two outs, Peralta walked Neil Walker and gave up a double to Russell Martin before Alvarez—hitting just .171/.171/.229 in August and having lost his starting job at third base—connected for his first home run since July 11, an opposite-field shot that put Pittsburgh (67-62) up 3-2.
In the top of the fifth, the wheels came off for Peralta. Gennett threw wildly to first, allowing Travis Snider to reach. Andrew McCutchen singled, Walker drove in a run with a double and Martin spanked his seventh homer of the season to left-center field. Alvarez followed with his second homer, another opposite-field shot, before Peralta could get out of the mess.
The burly right-hander allowed eight runs, seven earned, on seven hits and three walks in five innings, fanning five.
In the eighth, Snider led off with a single off lefty Zach Duke, moved up to second on a wild pitch and scored one out later on a single by Walker.
The Crew, meanwhile, had its chances against Volquez, who gave up 11 hits in 5.2 innings while also walking two. But the Brewers were just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left a whopping 13 runners stranded, matching a season high first set on April 5 in a 7-6 win at Boston.
Estrada worked just one inning, allowing a run on two hits and two walks with a strikeout. Jeremy Jeffress worked a scoreless seventh, allowing a hit and fanning one. Duke gave up a run on two hits and fanned one in the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez worked a 1-2-3 ninth.