"That's one of those plays that can be a game-changer," said Taylor Jungmann, the Brewers starter who benefited from Peterson's breakout play.
Peterson grew up playing first base, moved to the corner-outfield positions as a pro because he doesn't hit for much power, and is only manning center field for the Brewers these days because the team traded away Gold Glovers Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra.
Before Saturday, the best compliment one could offer was that Peterson has made all of the routine plays. But Bryce Harper presented something more than that when, with two runners aboard, nobody out and Jungmann dealing with the first of what would prove a series of jams, Harper hit a line drive to the left-center-field gap.
Peterson raced to his glove-hand side and made a diving catch, then had the awareness to see Jayson Werth tag up from second base, Peterson made a strong throw to third, where Hernan Perez applied the tag for a double play.
Jungmann then struck out Ryan Zimmerman, and the inning was suddenly over.
"The play in the first, that'a highlight play," Counsell said. "That was a heck of a play, and then to get the runner tagging up made it even better. You're thinking that could be the huge play in the game, a play that could win you a game."
"He makes that play and you get out of that inning, and say the next inning I get hot," Jungmann said, "that's a huge game-changer. That didn't necessarily happen that way today, but that's a great play. You've got to have stuff like that when you're struggling."
Peterson made another tricky catch in the third inning, when Zimmerman hit a fly ball to the deepest part of Nationals park, into a triangular section of center field marked 404 feet from home plate. Peterson made this catch on the warning track before banging into the wall, ending the inning.
"It's been three weeks now, and he's done a nice job out there," Counsell said.