MILWAUKEE – Until the seventh inning, Brewers veteran Wily Peralta had a two-hit shutout going and looked like he’d continue his career-long success against the Braves, despite spending the past two months in Triple-A and struggling mightily at Miller Park before he got sent down.
But the seventh inning arrived and so did the Braves of recent vintage — and by recent we mean the past two months and particularly the past two weeks.
The Braves scored two runs on a walk and three consecutive singles to start the seventh inning, taking a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in a 2-1 win against the Brewers, their fourth straight win and 10th in 14 games.
“Just being here has been fun the whole time, but winning is even more fun,” said rookie Tyrell Jenkins (2-2), who pitched six strong innings once again for the Braves to pick up his second win in his sixth start. “Guys have a lot of energy in the dugout. They’re excited and kind of flying around out there. Winning’s always fun for anybody, whether you’re playing for a playoff spot or maybe you’re playing for next year.
“I’m excited for the guys and excited that we’re on this streak and hopefully can keep it going.”
Jenkins allowed three hits, one run — on a Ryan Braun homer — and three walks with three strikeouts. It was the fourth time in six starts that he allowed one or no earned runs.
Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte was 0-for-3 with a walk to end his hitting streak at 19 games.
Jenkins only threw 77 pitches, but the Braves pinch hit when his spot came up with runners on the corners and two out in the seventh. Gordon Beckham flied out to end the inning.
Jenkins is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA as a starter including 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in five starts outside of Colorado’s Coors Field.
The Braves used four relievers to get through the last four innings including newcomer Chaz Roe, who faced one batter in the eighth and got an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
With closer Jim Johnson getting a rest, rookie flamethrower Mauricio Cabrera converted his third save in as many opportunities with a perfect ninth including two ground outs and a strikeout of Kirk Nieuwenhuis swinging at a 103-mph fastball to end the game.
Johnson had converted saves in the previous two games and three in the past four days, and interim manager Brian Snitker said Johnson warmed up three times before finally entering the game in Monday’s 12-inning win.
Atlanta relievers have a 1.53 ERA in August and held hitters to a majors-low .156 average for the month before Tuesday, when they lowered that a bit more by allowing one hit in three innings.
The Braves still have baseball’s worst record (43-71) but are above .500 (25-24) since an 18-46 start through June 14.
Braun’s leadoff homer in the fourth inning put Milwaukee up 1-0, and the only hit the Braves had through five innings was Erick Aybar’s infield single in the fourth, extending his hitting streak to 14 games.
Aybar was caught stealing and Peralta retired eight of the next nine before Freddie Freeman’s leadoff walk in the seventh. Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis followed with singles, Markakis driving in the tying run.
Peralta was replaced by Michael Blazek, and Adonis Garcia greeted him with a single that put the Braves ahead, 2-1.
“Guy like (Peralta) is fresh back from the minor leagues, he obviously had something to prove,” Markakis said. “He had a little more adrenaline. He was throwing harder than he usually does. His ball was moving all over. He’s tough to string multiple hits (together) against. Freddie had a great at-bat there, Kemp got a big hit, we got some guys in scoring position, got some guys over and we were able to squeeze out two runs. It was just enough for the win.”
Peralta was optioned to Triple-A on June 12 and had one win and a 6.31 ERA in 10 starts for Colorado Springs before he was recalled to start Tuesday in place of injured Junior Guerra. Peralta had a 7.79 ERA and .379 opponents’ average and eight home runs allowed in seven home starts before Tuesday.
However, he also came in with a 1.65 ERA in five career starts against the Braves, including one in each of the past five seasons. He was charged with four hits, two runs and three walks in six innings Tuesday, the first time he lasted as many as six innings in his past seven major league starts.