After losing another late-inning lead to the visiting Miami Marlins, the Milwaukee Brewers will turn on short notice to Freddy Peralta in the series finale on Sunday with the hopes of keeping their wild-card chance alive.
Peralta (4-4, 3.77 ERA) will be opposed by Pablo Lopez (10-10, 3.90 ERA) for the Marlins in a clash of right-handers.
The Marlins dealt the Brewers' postseason hopes a serious blow Saturday night, getting a two-run single from Bryan De La Cruz off closer Devin Williams in the ninth inning for a 4-3 comeback victory. Milwaukee outhit the Marlins 7-4 and drew four walks, but stranded nine runners.
"I feel excited playing these games. I feel like I'm in World Series mode playing these big games," De La Cruz said through an interpreter. "Things are coming out right for me and I think I'm kind of screwing up some of the playoff situations for these guys."
The Brewers let a lead slip away in the series opener on Thursday, losing 4-2 when Avisail Garcia hit an eighth-inning grand slam off Peralta, making his first relief appearance of the season.
"Late-inning losses at any time of the year are tough to deal with, but we've got to show back up tomorrow and get a win and put a solid nine innings together," said Aaron Ashby, who started Saturday for Milwaukee, allowing two runs in 4 1/3 innings. "It hurts. It's never fun, especially this time of year, but you've got to keep chugging along."
Milwaukee (84-74) enters Sunday a game behind Philadelphia (85-73) for the third National League wild card. The Phillies split a doubleheader at Washington on Saturday, winning the nightcap 8-2 after dropping the opener 13-4. However, Philadelphia also holds the tiebreaker with Milwaukee, so the Brewers have to finish ahead of the Phillies.
Milwaukee plays its final four at home, finishing with three games against Arizona. The Phillies finish on the road, with the final three at Houston after Sunday's game at Washington.
Peralta, on the injured list twice this season with right shoulder issues, was not announced as Sunday's starter until after the Brewers' loss Saturday night. He missed more than two months midway through the season and then was sidelined again from Sept. 9 until coming off the IL on Sept. 25 for a two-inning start against Cincinnati. He did not give up a run in his 44-pitch outing.
On Thursday against the Marlins, Peralta came out of the bullpen for the first time after 16 starts. He pitched a perfect seventh, but then allowed two hits and a walk before Garcia's grand slam.
Peralta is 2-1 with 6.43 ERA in five career appearances vs. Miami, including two starts. He has given up 10 runs in 14 innings but has 21 strikeouts.
Lopez is making his fifth career start against Milwaukee. He is 1-1 with a 4.13 ERA vs. the Brewers. Lopez has faced Milwaukee once this season, allowing one run over seven innings with a career-high 11 strikeouts, but did not get the decision in a 2-1 loss on May 13.
Lopez was 2-2 with a 5.33 ERA in five starts in September. In his most recent outing, he allowed three runs in six innings in a 6-4 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday. In the start before that, Lopez gave up just one run in 6 2/3 innings, but did not get the decision in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
--Field Level Media