The visiting Cincinnati Reds will turn to right-hander Ben Lively for a chance to move atop the National League Central against the front-running Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday afternoon in the rubber game of the three-game series
Lively (4-5, 3.88 ERA) will be opposed by right-hander Freddy Peralta (6-8, 4.72).
Rookie left-hander Andrew Abbott scattered seven hits over six scoreless innings to outduel Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, who gave up two runs on three hits in six innings. Will Benson's two-run homer in the ninth gave the Reds a 4-0 cushion, which was needed when Christian Yelich launched a three-run bomb with two outs in the bottom half
The Reds then brought in All-Star closer Alexis Diaz, who gave up an infield single and hit a batter with a pitch before he got a flyout for his 30th save
Cincinnati has won six of seven after a six-game losing streak. The Reds won for just the third time in 12 games this season against the Brewers, who are 46-10 when scoring four or more runs, 10-36 when scoring three or fewer
"Every one of the wins is so important," Reds manager David Bell said. "And it's so much fun playing that way when you have that much riding on every game. Our guys are also doing a good job of staying very consistent and staying steady. We're playing with a lot of heart.
The Reds, who are trying to become the first team to win a division after losing at least 100 games the year before, have not been in first place this late in a full season since 2012, when they won the division
Milwaukee outhit the Reds 10-6 but stranded runners in every inning, 10 in all
Against Cincinnati in his career, Peralta is 5-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 18 career appearances, including 12 starts. He picked up a win in Cincinnati on July 15 by pitching six scoreless innings with six strikeouts as he and three relievers shut out the Reds 3-0 in a combined one-hitter
Peralta took the loss in his latest start, however, a 6-4 defeat vs. the visiting Atlanta Braves on Friday. He gave up six runs in five innings, including a pair of two-run homers. Peralta has been plagued by the long ball, serving up a career-high 18 homers in 103 innings.
"The two home runs hurt him," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after the Friday game. "And he just kind of got boxed in in both at-bats, really.
Peralta is 1-3 with a 5.02 ERA over his past seven starts.
Lively is 0-2 with a 3.78 ERA in three starts this season vs. the Brewers, though he gave up just one run in each of his past two appearances against them
Lively will be making his 11th start, after two relief appearances, since being called up from Triple-A Louisville on May 9. He is 0-1 with a 3.14 ERA in three starts since coming off the 15-day injured list on July 9, having recovered from a right pectoral muscle strain.
--Field Level Media