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Peralta whiffs 10 to continue historic run

Brewers hit three home runs to back rookie, who improves to 3-0
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- The question was whether Christian Yelich has ever seen a rookie the likes of 22-year-old Freddy Peralta, who yielded a single hit and struck out 10 more batters over seven more scoreless innings in the Brewers' 5-1 win over the Royals on Tuesday for a smashing Miller Park debut.

Yelich paused, as if contemplating whether to make such a lofty comparison.

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MILWAUKEE -- The question was whether Christian Yelich has ever seen a rookie the likes of 22-year-old Freddy Peralta, who yielded a single hit and struck out 10 more batters over seven more scoreless innings in the Brewers' 5-1 win over the Royals on Tuesday for a smashing Miller Park debut.

Yelich paused, as if contemplating whether to make such a lofty comparison.

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"You want me to say Fernandez?" he said.

That's the late Jose Fernandez, a former Marlins teammate of Yelich's and the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year.

Perhaps Peralta is not Fernandez, but he is producing early results unseen in Major League history. Twice now in four big league starts, Peralta has struck out 10 or more while allowing one hit. According to STATS LLC, he is the first rookie in the live-ball era to do that. He's the first Brewers pitcher to have two such games in an entire career.

Video: KC@MIL: Peralta opens the game with a strikeout

Through his first four starts, Peralta is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA while allowing seven hits compared to 35 strikeouts over 22 2/3 innings. In his three victories, beginning with a one-hit, 13-strikeout gem on Mother's Day in Denver, he allowed four hits and struck out 30 batters in 18 2/3 innings. In two starts since his latest promotion from Triple-A Colorado Springs, he has allowed three hits with 17 strikeouts in 13 scoreless innings.

According to the Baseball-Reference.com database, Peralta is the only pitcher since at least 1908 to surrender three or fewer hits with five or more strikeouts in each of his first four career games.

So even comparisons that seem over the top are worthy of mention.

"Obviously, [Peralta] has been very dominant," Yelich said, getting back to Fernandez. "They're two different pitchers. Jose was mostly slider/fastball and Freddy is more that power cutter/sinker thing that does something different every pitch. But he's been great for us. His stuff looks electric from center field, and you can see that in the swings and takes and called strikeouts.

"He's been great every time he goes out there, and hopefully that continues."

Video: KC@MIL: Brewers on Peralta's performance in 5-1 win

Yelich & Co. provided plenty of support with a trio of home runs off Royals starter Jakob Junis, the dubious Major League leader with 22 home runs allowed. Yelich hit a two-run home run in the first inning, before Jesus Aguilar smashed a solo home run in the third and Ryan Braun made it 5-0 with a two-run shot in the fifth.

Video: KC@MIL: Aguilar crushes a solo homer to center field

Peralta took care of the rest.

Did he ever dream about this much success, this soon?

"When I was growing up, sometimes I played PlayStation or something like that," Peralta said with a big smile, "and I said, 'Oh, I can be like that someday.' And look, now I am here. We'll see what the future has got for me."

Peralta said he'd been waiting to pitch at Miller Park after outings on the road against the Rockies, Twins and Pirates, and the wait was worth it. He walked one and yielded only one hit -- an Adalberto Mondesi double leading off the third inning. Mondesi, who was promptly erased at third base on a fielder's choice, was the last Royals hitter to reach safely against Peralta, who retired the final 15 batters he faced while pitching into the seventh inning for the first time.

He started and ended his outing with strikeouts, catching Kansas City leadoff man Whit Merrifield looking at a curveball to end a nine-pitch battle to lead off the game and getting Lucas Duda to swing and miss at three straight curveballs to end the seventh. That was an important pitch for Peralta, who threw 24 curveballs among his 102 pitches, including five called strikes and nine swinging strikes.

"He was really good," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It is hard to explain. He's got a high spin rate and the ball just kind of jumps on you even though it's 92 mph. Really good curveballs. Commanded it better than I thought he would."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
On the board early: Yelich hit a first-inning home run for the second straight game, giving the Brewers an early lead on a night they were without two of their top hitters in Lorenzo Cain and Travis Shaw. Cain was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left groin strain, and Shaw is expected to miss both games against the Royals with a right wrist injury. Yelich's power has been a welcome sign.

"Both balls are no-doubters, up into the stands there," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's still growing into [his power], but it's fun to see what he's capable of." More >

Video: KC@MIL: Yelich drills a two-run homer to left field

Braun hits one out: Braun also went to the opposite field when he took Junis deep to right-center field in the fifth. It was Braun's first home run since he departed the team last week for a cryotherapy treatment on his troublesome right thumb, which had flared up again and sapped his power.

"He's felt good for the last three days, so there's been no issue with it," Counsell said. "He's confident that it's worked for him and [he has] gotten results from it. I think we knew it was going to have a good result."

Video: KC@MIL: Braun drives a two-run homer to center field

HE SAID IT
"Sometimes I took a breath and I looked up and looked at everything. Just to clear my mind. I saw everybody stand up [after the final out of the seventh]. That was very good, man. I took my hat off and everything, because that was awesome." -- Peralta, on pitching for the first time at Miller Park

UP NEXT
Brent Suter has matched his career high with seven innings in each of his past two starts, and will try to make it three in a row when he meets fellow left-hander Danny Duffy and the Royals on Wednesday in the finale of this two-game series. Suter is 6-1 with a 3.12 ERA over his last seven starts. His first pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. CT.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Freddy Peralta