CINCINNATI -- Prior to the start of Friday's game, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he felt the relievers were getting back on track in terms of receiving proper rest after a grueling couple of weeks.
Still, it's no secret that the team could have benefited greatly from a starting pitcher going deep into the game and giving the 'pen a rest. That's precisely what Wily Peralta did on Friday against the Reds, throwing eight scoreless innings in a 2-0 Brewers win before 32,759 at Great American Ball Park.
"They could all use another day," Roenicke said. "When we do that, we get right back in where our bullpen is rested and everybody is ready to go."
The offense has been lagging a bit lately, too, but Peralta took care of that as well, turning this game into a one-man show of sorts where he took care of shutting down the Reds' lineup while boosting his own at the same time.
Peralta, known as one of the league's better-hitting pitchers so far this year, trumped his hard-hitting teammates by driving in the only two runs of the game with a two-out double off Mike Leake in the fifth. That was the difference in the game, and it allowed the Brewers to even the four-game set at one win apiece.
"To be able to pitch like that, and be able to swing the bat, sometimes that's all you need to win a ballgame," Peralta said. "[Leake] was throwing the ball well, and I just went out there and guessed he'd throw me a fastball. I was able to put a good swing on it and score a couple runs."
"I really don't think he needed anybody else out there," said batterymate Jonathan Lucroy, who logged three hits on the night. "He took care of everything. It was pretty impressive. He threw really well. He was fighting and battling the whole time. He did a great job. He didn't let up at all."
In the early going, Peralta didn't look quite as sharp as he did later in the game. Even though he was aided by a double play, he threw 24 pitches in the first, hinting that he may not be able to last into the later innings.
But he settled in for the next three frames, allowing only one hit -- a Joey Votto double that led off the fourth. That hit represented the closest thing this game had to drama. Votto's towering fly ball to left bounced off the top of the yellow padding that runs across the outfield, prompting a review by the umpiring crew.
The ruling confirmed the umpires' original call, and Votto was stranded when Peralta retired the next three batters on a groundout, strikeout and fly ball.
The challenging part for a Brewers lineup that has been somewhat lacking at the plate lately, was that Leake was doing the same thing to them as Peralta was doing to the Reds. Leake stayed in for eight innings over a 108-pitch outing, absorbing the loss to fall to 2-3.
"What can you say about guys going out there and pitching eight innings?" Reds manager Bryan Price said. "You pitch eight innings, it's typically a good performance after that. That was two runs. It's unfortunate because the pitcher hit the double that scored the runs. However, in the end, those guys are dangerous too, especially as we know how Mike swings the bat."
Peralta's heroics temporarily lifted a lineup that is clearly missing Ryan Braun, but the Brewers know they can't rely on pitchers hitting well to keep the offense afloat.
And as a team, the Brewers are now hitting .253.
"We're not picking up the runs when we had a chance too," Roenicke said. "We had a couple chances today and we're not getting it done. We continue to pitch well, and that's why we're winning. But we need to start being better when we have those opportunities. We need to bring in those baserunners."
Once Peralta exited the game, closer Francisco Rodriguez finished off the Reds with a 1-2-3 ninth that led to his 14th save of the season. As well as Peralta was pitching, Roenicke gave no consideration to having him finish out the game. Credit a pitch count of 110 as the reason.
"When the pitch count gets up to that point ... I even question it going to the eighth inning," Roenicke said. "We thought his pitches were still OK. I asked [Lucroy] when he came in, and he said he was still throwing the ball great. So the decision was easy there."