MIAMI -- The Baltimore Orioles had a scout at Marlins Park on Wednesday, and Brewers rookie right-hander Freddy Peralta gave him plenty to write home about. Plenty for Peralta to think about himself, too.With Manny Machado trade talks as a backdrop, Peralta saw a promising start completely unravel in what
MIAMI -- The Baltimore Orioles had a scout at Marlins Park on Wednesday, and Brewers rookie right-hander Freddy Peralta gave him plenty to write home about. Plenty for Peralta to think about himself, too.
With Manny Machado trade talks as a backdrop, Peralta saw a promising start completely unravel in what became a 5-4 loss in 12 innings -- exactly what Milwaukee didn't need entering a five-game, four-day series in Pittsburgh to finish the first half. It was the Brewers' second extra-inning loss in the three-game series against the last-place Marlins, snapping a streak of six consecutive series victories or splits.
"I've got to be better," Peralta said.
Peralta didn't figure in the decision thanks to Jesus Aguilar's three-hit, three-RBI performance on the same night he was named a National League All-Star. But after Aguilar's two-run double tied the game in the eighth inning, the Brewers left the bases loaded in the ninth and lost in the 12th on Starlin Castro's single during Brewers reliever Jorge Lopez's third inning.
While it's unknown whether the Orioles are targeting Peralta, or whether the Brewers would give him up, the 22-year-old is the type of young, Major League-ready pitcher Baltimore has reportedly been seeking for Machado, a free agent at season's end.
Another, top Brewers pitching prospect Corbin Burnes, threw two perfect innings on Tuesday in his Major League debut. He's reportedly drawn Baltimore's interest.
Without addressing any specific players, Brewers GM David Stearns said, "It's active. There are plenty of conversations. I've learned that it doesn't necessarily mean that there are going to be trades, but there are plenty of conversations. And so I'd imagine that'll continue for the next three weeks."
Might something get done before the All-Star break?
"That I don't know," Stearns said. "Things can pop up at the last minute. But we're in discussions, and we'll see where things stand."
A day after Burnes' promising debut, Peralta was just as sharp through three hitless innings, with four strikeouts and the lone blemish a walk in the third. In the fourth, National League Rookie of the Year candidate Brian Anderson tallied Miami's first hit with a triple that bounced under the glove of diving center fielder Lorenzo Cain. He scored on a sacrifice fly, and Justin Bour followed with a solo home run on a misplaced curveball that made it 2-2.
Peralta proved unable to limit the damage. After getting the second out of the inning, he yielded a single to Miguel Rojas, walked Cameron Maybin and hit eight-hole hitter John Holaday with a pitch to load the bases for starter Dan Straily, who entered the day with a .201 lifetime OPS.
Straily walked on five pitches for a 3-2 Marlins lead.
"That felt bad for me," Peralta said. "The pitcher is the easy out and I walked him."
He believes he knows the culprit.
"I was trying to keep working hard, but I lost my release point a little bit with my fastball," Peralta said. "That happens. We'll work on things that can help me for the next start."
The Brewers' loss soured a special day for Aguilar, who went from Brewers waiver claim a year ago to National League All-Star after winning the Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote. He found out about 90 minutes before the game, then went out and doubled home a run in the first inning, singled in the fourth and doubled again in the eighth for two critical runs that tied the game at 4.
Aguilar, who remained tied for the NL lead with 23 home runs, now ranks second with 67 RBIs.
"We lost two extra-inning games and we fought back in both games to get there," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We tied it in the eighth with a big hit by Jesus. We were just one hit away both nights. We're knocking on the doorstep and making it really hard to take us down, but they outlasted us tonight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Out of options: Counsell and the Brewers found themselves in a predicament in the top of the 12th, as Aguilar stepped to the plate with a runner at first and the pitcher Lopez due next. The only position player left was Erik Kratz, and Counsell sent him to the on-deck circle as a decoy, hoping to get Aguilar something to hit.
But Marlins manager Don Mattingly knew Counsell was probably out of pitching, and had his pitcher, Elieser Hernandez, work around Aguilar, even though walking him pushed the go-ahead run into scoring position. Sure enough, Kratz returned to the dugout and Lopez went to the plate and struck out.
"Lopey was the last guy pitching tonight, so we were just trying to get Jesus some pitches," Counsell said. "Corbin threw two innings last night. [Jeremy Jeffress] has been up six of the last seven nights, and Josh [Hader] was not available as well.
"We managed to get to the 12th inning in that scenario, which was quite an accomplishment. The bullpen guys did a heck of a job to get us to that point, and Lopey did a heck of a job to give us a couple of extra chances to hit."
Can't cash in:Christian Yelich had a prime opportunity to cap his Miami homecoming with a winning hit in the ninth, when Kyle Barraclough went walk, strikeout, walk, strikeout, walk to load the bases. Yelich couldn't break up that symmetry, striking out on a changeup in the dirt to leave the bases loaded.
"Look, we had some really good at-bats against Barraclough," Counsell said. "We had some good pitches to hit. I think Eric [Thames] had a good fastball to hit. Christian had a couple fastballs to hit. Then [Barraclough] threw some really good changeups to strike them both out. We put together a good ninth inning against a pretty good closer."
Third baseman Travis Shaw is a question mark for Thursday's series opener in Pittsburgh after rolling his right ankle charging a soft bouncer in the sixth inning. Shaw was charged with an error and limped back to his position, then left the game as part of a double switch in the bottom of the inning.
"It's not terrible," he said. "We'll see how it does on the flight. It was on that stumble, one of those steps my ankle just gave out. It's not super severe. It'll be swollen."
HE SAID IT
"They're better than their record shows. Their lineup's not bad and they've got a couple guys that can throw a little bit. Their bullpen guys are pretty good -- guys that will probably get traded here over the next couple weeks. It's not just a rollover team." -- Shaw, on the Marlins
The Brewers will have several fresh arms on hand Thursday night in Pittsburgh, including left-hander Wade Miley, who will come off the 60-day DL to start the opener of a five-game, four-day series against the Pirates at PNC Park heading into the All-Star break. Miley hasn't pitched in the Majors since he strained his right oblique against the Indians in his second big league start back from a Spring Training groin injury. But he was very impressive in the spring before getting hurt, and the Brewers think he can help down the stretch. Jameson Taillon starts for Pittsburgh in the 6:05 p.m. CT series opener.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.