Reds, Brewers look to prevail in rubber game of weekend series

MLB Baseball

One pitcher has been the ace of his staff while the other is still searching for his ace form as the Milwaukee Brewers send Freddy Peralta to the mound against Reds right-hander Luis Castillo in the finale of a three-game series in Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday will serve as the rubber game of the three-game set, with Cincinnati claiming Friday’s opener, 9-4, and Milwaukee evening the series Saturday, 4-3.

Peralta (4-1, 2.40 ERA) struck out eight, allowed two hits and a walk over six scoreless innings Sunday, earning the win over Atlanta.

Over his past two starts, the right-hander has fanned 16 batters while allowing just three hits in 13 shutout innings. Overall, the right-hander is riding a 16-inning scoreless streak and has four quality starts. The Brewers are 5-3 in his eight previous starts and opponents are batting just .136 (21-for-154, four homers), including 69 strikeouts in just 45 innings.

Peralta is 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA in 10 games, four starts, against the Reds.

The Brewers nearly blew an 8-0 lead last Tuesday when Peralta left after six innings, with Peralta earning the win when his teammates held on a for a 10-9 victory in Milwaukee.

Daniel Robertson’s solo homer in the seventh Saturday led Milwaukee to a 4-3 win, just their fifth in 18 games.

“That’s a huge win for us right there,” Robertson told Brewers TV afterward. “It’s such a long season. We just try to stay positive and there’s such a good vibe in the clubhouse. We know what kind of team we are. We’ve just got to keep playing that kind of baseball, good pitching, good defense and swing the bats like we know how to do.”

Meanwhile, Luis Castillo (1-6, 7.44) will take the mound for Cincinnati. Despite an outing in which he surrendered a key three-run homer to Alex Dickerson and lost his sixth decision of the season, Castillo was hopeful after the 4-1 loss to San Francisco last Tuesday night.

“Even though we didn’t get the victory, I’d say we didn’t just take one step forward, we took three steps forward,” Castillo said through a translator. “Really, it felt better, and the results were there.”

Indeed, Castillo, who is 4-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 11 career starts against the Brewers, had eight strikeouts through three innings and finished with 11 against the Giants.

“I think the biggest difference (Tuesday) was my changeup,” said Castillo, who gave up six hits and three walks. “Obviously, it’s my second-best pitch. The previous starts, you could see that the changeup was staying over the plate, but this time, it was just getting away from the zone and below the zone. You could really see it, my changeup was working spectacularly.”

“That’s not always the key, but we’ve seen when he is getting that kind of swing and miss, you know the stuff is there,” added Reds manager David Bell.

Cincinnati’s Jesse Winker continued his blazing hot power streak on Saturday with a solo homer in the third inning, giving him four homers in the past two games and a team-leading 12 on the season. The long ball made him the first Reds player to homer after a three-homer game since Greg Vaughn did the trick in 1999.

Milwaukee was without second baseman Kolten Wong (right elbow) and outfielder Christian Yelich in their starting lineup on Saturday. Wong was injured Friday while Yelich — who returned earlier in the week from back spasms — was getting a scheduled day of rest against Sonny Gray until he struck out Saturday in a pinch-hitting appearance against lefty Sean Doolittle. Yelich is 0-for-11 since returning from the injured list.

–Field Level Media

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