For an organization that has been built around homegrown talent, the Milwaukee Brewers have struggled to develop their own pitchers -- all the more reason for the high hopes surrounding young right-hander Wily Peralta.
Making just his third major league start, Peralta showed why he's one of the Brewers' top prospects, working eight scoreless innings while allowing just two hits and a walk with five strikeouts, leading Milwaukee to a 3-0 victory over the New York Mets Sunday at Miller Park.
"That's about as good as it gets," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
Peralta (2-0) retired 15 of his first 16 batters and 24 of 27 overall, using his full repertoire of pitches, which included a fastball topping out at 96 miles per hour and a slider that kept the Mets off-balance most of the day.
"He had sink, he was down in the zone ... just good command," Roenicke said.
Peralta is considered a leading candidate to make the Milwaukee rotation next season and showed why early. He struck out the heart of the Mets' order -- Daniel Wright, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda -- to close out the first and open the second inning, and the only hits allowed were singles by Josh Thole and Andres Torres.
He added to his accomplishments in the bottom of the seventh by doubling down the left field line for his first major league hit.
Peralta started to show fatigue in the eighth, allowing a one-out walk, his first of the game, to Thole, which drew a mound visit from pitching coach Rick Kranitz. Peralta worked out of it, though, as Torres flew out to center and pinch hitter Scott Hairston lined out to third. Peralta left to a standing ovation from the crowd of 38,677.
He had a chance to become the first Brewers pitcher to throw a complete game this season, having thrown just 82 pitches heading into the eighth, but with 104 through eight (69 strikes), his day was done.
"My arm still felt good," Peralta said.
The 23-year-old has improved with each start since being called up on Sept. 4 after going 7-111 with a 4.66 ERA in 28 starts with Class AAA Nashville. He allowed three runs on five hits over six innings in an 8-5 victory at Miami a day later, then held the Braves to a run on seven hits in a 4-1 Milwaukee victory Sept. 10.
Sunday's effort was left his teammates, including the defending National League Most Valuable Player, impressed.
"He's been amazing," Ryan Braun said. "I look at his stuff and I don't know how he's not the top prospect in baseball. He has dominant stuff; there are very few guys that have stuff like that in Major League Baseball."
Braun had a big day, himself, homering twice to reach the 40-home run mark for the first time in his career and tying Cecil Cooper for fifth on the Brewers all-time list with 201 career homers. He leads the National League with 40.
"Individual accomplishments are always far more enjoyable when they come in the context of the team winning," Braun said. "We're in a position where every game is of the utmost importance. It's esasier to enjoy it when it comes on a day like this."
New York's Chris Young pitched well, allowing eight hits, striking out two and allowing just one walk in 6 2/3 innings. Young's effort, however, was spoiled by three Milwaukee home runs -- Braun's two and another by Aramis Ramirez.
"He kept us in the game," New York manager Terry Collins said.
John Axford worked a scoreless ninth, issuing a one-out walk to Daniel Murphy before getting Wright on a called third strike and Davis to pop out to Ramirez in foul territory to convert his 11th consecutive save opportunity and 29th of the season.
NOTES: Peralta's five strikeouts increased the Brewers' season total to 1,261, surpassing the franchise record of 1,258 set in 2010... Braun's two home runs gave him 201 for his career, moving him into a tie for fifth on the Brewers' all-time list with Cecil Cooper ...Collins has yet to decide on a starter for Wednesday's game against Philadelphia. He'd like to get both Collin McHugh and Jeremy Hefner another start this season and both are candidates for the spot ... The victory moved Milwaukee within two games of the Cardinals and Dodgers for the final National League Wild Card spot.