MILWAUKEE — Freddy Peralta, moved up a day in the rotation, will try to extend the Milwaukee Brewers’ season on Wednesday.
The right-hander will start in place of injured ace Brandon Woodruff as the Brewers attempt to stave off elimination against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 2 of their best-of-three National League wild-card series.
Arizona, appearing in the postseason for the first time since 2017, won the series opener 6-3 on Tuesday, tagging Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes for three home runs to overcome a 3-0 deficit.
“I mean, you win Game 1, it feels good,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We have to do it right and take nothing for granted and stay humble and come here (Wednesday) and play our finest game and try to close them out.”
By clinching the NL Central title early, the Brewers set up the series for their Big 3 — Burnes, Woodruff and Peralta — but the advantage now shifts to the Diamondbacks.
Peralta, 12-10 with a 3.86 ERA in in the regular season, will get the call on Wednesday in place of Woodruff, who was ruled out for the series on Monday with an injury to his right (pitching) shoulder. Peralta hasn’t pitched since Sept. 24, as he was scratched from his final scheduled outing to give him extra rest ahead of the postseason.
Right-hander Zac Gallen (17-9, 3.47 ERA), gets the nod for Arizona on Wednesday, with right-hander Merrill Kelly (12-8, 3.29) ready for Thursday, if necessary.
In the opener, Corbin Carroll and Ketel Marte hit back-to-back homers off Burnes in the third inning as the Diamondbacks climbed to a 3-3 tie. Gabriel Moreno put Arizona in front 4-3 with a leadoff homer in the fourth, and Burnes was done after walking the first two batters in the fifth.
“When you get a pitcher like Corbin Burnes out of the game in the fifth inning, you are doing a lot right,” Lovullo said. “So I feel like we had a really good game plan (Tuesday).”
Arizona added two runs in the ninth off Milwaukee closer Devin Williams, who threw 31 pitches and walked three while recording just two outs.
Milwaukee squandered several opportunities, stranding 11 men and going 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The Brewers had the bases loaded with no outs in the fifth but failed to score. Brice Turang struck out, and then Arizona third baseman Evan Longoria made a leaping grab of Tyrone Taylor’s scorching liner and doubled the runner off second to end the inning.
“We did a great job putting pressure on them for five of the first six innings,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I think the leadoff runner, I felt like he was on probably five out of those six. Longoria made a great play, and we got caught off there.”
Peralta went 7-3 with a 3.09 ERA over his final 15 starts of the regular season, but he lost his last two, allowing five runs on 13 hits over nine innings.
Peralta has a spectacular career record against the Diamondbacks — 3-0 with a 0.55 ERA in four career appearances (two starts) — but he has not faced them since 2021.
He also has been effective in the postseason, producing no-decisions and a 1.13 ERA in three games (one start).
Gallen went 3-3 with a 4.17 ERA in six September starts. He gave up just two runs in 12 1/3 innings over his final two starts.
Like Peralta, Gallen has enjoyed success against his Wednesday foe, as he is 3-3 with a 1.75 ERA in six career starts versus Milwaukee. He won both of his starts against the Brewers this season, allowing just one run in 14 innings.
“They’re going to come with everything they have, that’s for sure,” Lovullo said. “I feel much better than I would be feeling if we lost this game. I know that. But we beat their ace. They’re going to try to beat ours tomorrow. So, we’ll be ready to go.”