WASHINGTON (AP) — Freddy Peralta pitched his first complete game in the majors, going all seven innings Saturday and leading the Milwaukee Brewers over the Washington Nationals 4-1 in the first game of a doubleheader.
Peralta (5-1) allowed four hits, including Kyle Schwarber’s home run, while striking out seven and walking one. The 24-year-old right-hander made his 33rd start in the big leagues.
Avisaíl Garcia homered and drove in three runs.
Garcia hit his team-leading ninth homer, a two-run drive off Patrick Corbin (3-4) in the first inning.
Christian Yelich hit an RBI triple in the third and scored on Garcia’s grounder for a 4-0 lead.
That was plenty for Peralta, who has allowed more than three runs in a start just once this season. He threw 100 pitches and lowered his ERA to 2.38.
“I had in my mind I’m going to throw the seven innings in the first game to save the bullpen,” Peralta said.
Peralta’s only trouble came in the third when Juan Soto came up with two runners on and one out. Soto grounded into a double play, prompting him to slam his helmet into the dirt after crossing first base.
Soto’s frustration has become more evident as the season has moved on and his offensive production lags. His offensive struggles are relative to his past success — he led MLB in OPS in 2020 — yet they are an issue for an ineffective Washington offense.
Soto’s OPS is more than 300 points lower than it was last season.
“It’s very tough for me,” Soto said. “I try to control it. The emotion is coming out. Forget about it and keep going.”
The Nationals entered Saturday 27th in runs scored.
“For me right now, it’s frustrating when we don’t have that timely hit,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said.
Schwarber hit his ninth homer, a 439-foot drive in the fourth.
Milwaukee improved to 26-25 after Friday’s rainout at Nationals Park caused a day-night doubleheader.
Nationals: 2B Luis García slipped while warming up between the second and third innings. He went to the ground right on the edge of the outfield grass by the shortstop position and was helped off the wet field by a trainer and Martinez because of a hamstring cramp. García is expected to have an MRI on Sunday. Josh Harrison replaced García.
Milwaukee LHP Brett Anderson (2-3, 4.34 ERA) is set to start the second game of a split doubleheader. LHP Jon Lester (0-2, 5.33 ERA) will pitch for the Nationals.