Detroit Tigers right-hander Wily Peralta pitched with authority in Tuesday’s start at Comerica Park.
His fastball was averaging 95 mph, and his slider – which typically sits at around 82 mph – was knocked out at 85 mph. Armed with some of the best guns he’s used this season, the 32-year-old recorded six scoreless innings against the leaders of the Central National League.
Peralta looked overwhelmed as he faced his former team (2012-17) in a duel with Milwaukee Brewers starter Freddy Peralta. Although they are not related, the two pitchers are represented by the same agency: REP1 Baseball.
But in this match, neither of the two starters came out on top.
Before the seventh inning, the first game of the two-game series was delayed by an hour and 45 minutes due to rain. The scoreless tie wasn’t broken until late in the 11th inning, when Derek Hill doubled up to cross Hunter Strickland to score Victor Reyes, the extra-inning free runner, for a 1-0 victory.
“At first AJ (Hinch, manager) told me if I didn’t get (decay) in the top two, just hit with two strikes,” Hill said. “I’m grateful for the way the boys fought the whole game. I just arrived and did what I tried to do to help the team.”
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After relievers Derek Holland and Kyle Funkhouser covered the Tigers’ first six strikeouts after the delay, Gregory Soto completed a perfect ninth. In the bottom half of the ninth, the Brewers called in closest Josh Hader – entering with a 1.42 ERA over 50 innings – to protect the tie and send the contest to extra innings.
Hader produced three hitters in a row with one out: Jonathan Schoop on seven, Robbie Grossman on five and Miguel Cabrera on six. Hader, however, showed no nerves. He simply responded by removing Jeimer Candelario and Eric Haase to leave the bases loaded.
“He can deal with the best of them,” Hinch said. “No situation is too big for Josh Hader. He’s the back of an elite team for a reason. He showed us exactly why. We were patient. I loved those hitters. Candy and Haase were doing it. trying their best to move the ball forward to give us a chance to win in regulation, but he beat us. “
Once Soto started his second consecutive scoreless run, the Tigers (69-76) positioned themselves for a winner late in the 10th. As a runner in the extra inning, Haase held on to second until a strikeout put out by batter Harold Castro propelled him to third. (Prior to Castro’s arrival at bat, Niko Goodrum struck from a free kick.) As the Tigers increased the pressure, Brewers reliever Jake Cousins rebounded Reyes, sending the game into the 11th inning.
Hinch went to right-hander Bryan Garcia for the 11th summit.
Garcia loaded the goals – Pablo Reyes (free runner), Lorenzo Cain (singles) and Eduardo Escobar (four walking lengths) – to bring in former NL MVP Christian Yelich with one out. In a 3-1 count, Yelich made a double play late in the inning.
Once again, the Tigers had a chance to win.
This time they were successful.
“It’s a good reminder that we can win any game,” Hinch said. “We got one here in about 12 hours. We’re going to start over and try to beat this team again before they leave town. It’s obviously not easy. But if you want to play with the big guys, you You play like the big guys. That’s what we try to do against good teams: defend ourselves and win games. “
The Tigers had their best scoring opportunity against Peralta in the sixth inning, just before the late rain. Willi Castro opened with a single. After Reyes and Akil Baddoo hit the swing, Schoop was hit with a fastball.
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By advancing a runner to scoring position for the first time, Grossman had the opportunity to break the tie. But he swung to a fastpitch 3-0 and jumped off the shortstop, blocking two runners and ending the sixth inning.
“I don’t think it’s that difficult for our team,” said Hill. “We’re built to compete for the long haul, from first to last. I feel like that’s the culture we’ve instilled in this club, and it’s exciting to watch.”
Throwing six goalless, Peralta conceded just two hits and struck out nine on strikes.
The 25-year-old also placed two hitters: Candelario in the second inning and Schoop in the sixth. Candelario’s single bloop in the fifth inning broke Peralta’s no-hitting bid, but the Brewers immediately turned a double play.
Peralta threw 48 of 71 shots for catches. He generated nine swings and misfires, three each with his four-seam fastball, slider, and curveball.
The Brewers received the perfect seventh and eighth innings from Brad Boxberger and Devin Williams, respectively. Boxberger pulled two out, while Williams pulled the side – Goodrum, Willi Castro and Reyes – with changes.
For the Tigers, Peralta recorded six scoreless innings.
He allowed two hits and two walks, racking up five strikeouts and shooting 53 of 85 shots for strikes. Peralta worked around the issues in the second and third innings, but was otherwise clean. He had six puffs with his four-seam fastball (two), sinker (one), slider (one), and splitter (two).
“I thought his pace was a lot better,” Hinch said. “His delivery was much better. His fastpitch control was much better.… The energy, everything picked up a bit today from his last outing, and efficiency followed.”
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He came out strong in the first inning, throwing nine of 10 pitches for grabs and taking out header Kolten Wong with a nasty divider. After Avisail Garcia’s first single in the fourth, Peralta struck out the last nine batters he faced.
Reliever Alex Lange was supposed to take over for the seventh, but he didn’t throw because of the rain. After play resumed, Holland threw a scoreless frame. He also recorded the first out in the eighth inning. Funkhouser won the next two strikeouts with ease.
“We needed all of our guys to do well,” Hinch said. “Derek needed a good pitch. He came out the next inning, then Funk came in and got his outs. Soto, another amazing out in two innings. Each guy had to do his part to finish his scoreless inning because there was no point scored and virtually no hits.
“We had a lot of guys who did a lot of good things. It doesn’t always feel like you’re in a 1-0 game. There isn’t a lot of action. But there was. lots of big throws. “
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Learn more about the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.