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MIL@CIN: Peralta stymies Reds over 5 1/3 solid frames

The Brewers will attempt to get back on track Sunday against the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Milwaukee has lost three straight and eight of its past nine -- two against the Reds -- and sends Wily Peralta to the mound in hopes of halting the slide.

The young Peralta returns to the mound in Cincinnati for the first time since suffering a biceps injury the last time he stepped on it in September. The Brewers prospect was forced to leave that Sept. 27 game early, but only after pitching 5 1/3 shutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out six.

Peralta's season ended prematurely because of the injury, but he's looking forward to retaking the mound at Great American Ball Park.

"You never want to come out of a game when you're pitching good," Peralta said.

He'll have it tough against a Reds team that took the series' first two games and six of their past eight, but the 24-year-old had a nice bounce-back outing in his most recent start against the Rangers.

"It was a great game for him," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "[Texas] is a really tough lineup to go through."

"I'm very happy with what I did today," said Peralta, who recorded his fourth quality start of the season against Texas. "The last time, I made good pitches, and they got hits on it. Sometimes, those things are going to happen. Today, I think I made good pitches when I needed to."

Milwaukee will need a big start from its young hurler, after getting only a combined seven innings from the rotation the past two games.

He'll oppose Bronson Arroyo, who last won on April 15 and took a loss in his past three outings.

Arroyo allowed four earned runs in five innings against Atlanta his last time out, giving up eight hits and a pair of walks while striking out seven.

"That was definitely a battle," Arroyo said afterward. "I wound up getting guys on base early in almost every inning. When you do that, it forces you to throw more pitches, especially against a lineup as deep as these guys were."

"That guy is a battler," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He threw a lot of pitches because he was in and out of trouble a lot, but he got out of it a couple of times."

If Cincinnati hopes to reverse the trend for its veteran pitcher, it will need to continue its stellar defensive play of late, something that Baker puts a lot of emphasis on.

"If you're gonna win, you gotta play defense," Baker said. "All people look at is offense. You better come up with some huge offensive numbers, because in the big leagues, you give away outs, it's going to cost you. Take away outs, then its big time to your benefit. Just don't cost outs, but if you take away outs, that's huge."

Reds: Lutz impresses at big league level
• Outfielder Donald Lutz is making up for a slow start to his Major League career.

Lutz was hitless through his first three games, but the 24-year-old carries a five-game hitting streak into Sunday's finale.

Part of his appeal to the Reds is his speed. Although he is 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, he stole two bases in his first eight games, including one in Friday's contest.

"He's aggressive," Baker said. "He runs a whole lot better than it appears he should run for the size of his body. He's going to be a good one. It's just a matter of him going to play."

Lutz, who is the first German-developed player to play in the Major Leagues, has developed well in the Reds' system, and his time with the big league club has only helped.

"[It's a] huge benefit -- for him and for us," Baker said. "He's going to have to go back eventually. Hopefully he goes back, and he'll go back with the fact he knows he's had some success here."

• Jay Bruce doubled twice in the third inning of Saturday's 13-7 Reds win. He became the first Reds player with two hits in an inning since Drew Stubbs on Apr. 25, 2011, at Milwaukee, and the first Reds player with two doubles in an inning since Sean Casey on Aug. 7, 1998, also against the Brewers.

Brewers: Rest does wonders for Estrada
• Marco Estrada was given an extra two days' rest between starts after a tough outing Sunday against the Cardinals. The right-hander allowed eight runs while recording only 10 outs and walked five batters for the first time in his Major League career.

That start had the Sonora, Mexico, native questioning everything, saying that it was "by far" the most lost he has ever felt on the mound.

"It was a feeling that I've forgotten about," Estrada said. "I don't want to go back there again. It was scary, you know?"

But some extra rest and an additional bullpen session has improved his mindset.

"I feel a million times better," Estrada said. "I know those things are going to happen, but I didn't like how the mental aspect of it was lost. Normally, I feel like I have pretty good control over that. I didn't have it that day, but I've worked on it. Mentally, right now, I'm pretty strong."

With the additional days off, Estrada is scheduled to pitch Monday in Pittsburgh, instead of pitching Saturday against the Reds as originally planned.

Worth Noting
• The Reds are 9-8 against the National League Central this season, while the Brewers are 7-10 and have lost seven straight. This is the first series between the division foes this season. Comments