ST. LOUIS (AP) - After not allowing a hit for five innings against the St. Louis Cardinals, Wily Peralta walked to the mound realizing the hardest part was ahead.
``I came out so focused,' Peralta said. ``The thing on my mind was to keep the ball down and find the strike zone. I wasn't thinking about a no-hitter.'
One wayward pitch in the sixth that Matt Holliday hammered for a two-run homer ended the bid. The Milwaukee Brewers looked for the positives after Peralta gave up just two hits in 6 2-3 innings but took the loss, 4-2, on Tuesday night.
``When he's throwing like that,' manager Ron Roenicke said, ``it's really fun to see.'
Peralta guessed that Holliday had been in an ornery mood after fouling three pitches off his left shin or foot the first two at_bats.
``One pitch, it was supposed to be a two-seamer that cut and it ended up somewhat down the middle,' Peralta said. ``Tough game, but I can't worry about it.
``I just think about going out there and making a quality start and doing that every time I go out there.'
Rookie Shelby Miller blanked the Brewers into the seventh for St. Louis.
Norichika Aoki of the Brewers struck out three times for the first time in the majors, the last against rookie lefty Kevin Siegrist with a runner on second to end the seventh. Aoki entered the game as the toughest batter to fan in the majors this year, averaging one per 17.2 at_bats.
Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams added RBIs in the seventh and eighth for the NL Central leaders, who are 4-0 to begin a nine-game homestand. After a day off, the Cardinals built on momentum from a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh.
The 22-year-old Miller (13-9) emphasized more off-speed deliveries to keep the pitch count down and allowed five hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 6 2-3 innings. He's 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee, the other two wins coming on the road.
Peralta (9-15) was significantly improved over his first two starts against the Cardinals, both in May, in which he allowed 12 runs and 22 hits in 9 1-3 innings. He was charged with three runs with seven strikeouts on Tuesday.
``I thought he was outstanding. He made one bad pitch,' Roenicke said. ``You'd think he'd get away with it, but Holliday did a nice job.
``His slider was outstanding, his fastball was outstanding.'
The Brewers avoided getting shut out For a third time by St. Louis on pinch-hitter Logan Schafer's two-run homer off Edward Mujica in the ninth.
Peralta struck out five of the first seven hitters and the Cardinals had two baserunners the first five innings: a walk by Holliday in the fourth and first baseman Jonathan Lucroy's error on a dropped throw in the third. Aoki kept the no-hitter going with a sliding catch down the right field line that robbed David Freese of a hit opening the fifth.
Holliday fouled balls off his left foot or ankle three times the first two at_bats, near where he's wearing a guard from previous occurrences. Carpenter walked to open the sixth and Holliday saw just one pitch his third time against Peralta, hammering a fastball an estimated 424 feet to left-center for his 19th homer.
Siegrist, a 41st-round draft pick, has worked 18 consecutive scoreless innings and has held left-handed hitters to just four hits in 53 at_bats.
Rookie Scooter Gennett of Milwaukee had two hits and is batting .394
Brett Hull chucked a side-armed ceremonial first pitch, a day after the hockey Hall of Famer rejoined the St. Louis Blues as an executive vice president.
NOTES: Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said there was ``no timetable or any better guesstimate' on when Allen Craig might return from a sprained left foot. Craig is batting .396 against Milwaukee with two homers and 10 RBIs. ... Roenicke picked the Cardinals to prevail in the Central because they're ``probably the most well-rounded team,' and also thought all three teams would be contenders for years to come. ``And that's a tough thing for us,' he said. ``You don't have all these veterans who are going to be free agents and they're going to be losing all these guys.' ...The Brewers played the first of 20 straight days, the maximum allowed in the collective bargaining agreement, to end the season. They'll use a six-man rotation the rest of the year, getting an extended look at youngsters Tyler Thornburg and Johnny Hellweg, the PCL pitcher of the year at Triple-A Nashville, and give extra days off to the rest of the rotation.
The Associated Press News Service
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