MILWAUKEE — After being humbled by the lowly Miami Marlins two days in a row, the Milwaukee Brewers bounced back Thursday with their usual home run power.
Christian Yelich hit his major league-leading 23rd home run and Mike Moustakas added two homers to lead the Brewers to a 5-1 win over the Marlins at Miller Park.
“Obviously, they beat us up pretty good the first two nights,” Yelich said. “You just got to turn the page and change the momentum and get something positive going. We were able to put it behind us early and just go back to playing our game.”
The Brewers salvaged the final game of the three-game series after getting outscored a combined 24-3 in the first two games. Milwaukee is a percentage point behind the National League Central-leading Chicago Cubs.
The Marlins, with the worst record in the NL, had won seven of nine and 13 of 18 overall.
“Nobody is going to quit,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “There’s going to be some bad days. That’s a baseball season. We’re going to be challenged by that. We’re going to be challenged by adversity. We’re going to be challenged by playing a couple games that we don’t like how it turned out and how we performed. We know we’ve got to answer the bell the next day and the guys are continuing to do that.”
Yelich hit his two-run homer in the first and Moustakas added his first of the game later in the inning to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead. Moustakas homered again in the fourth to make it 4-0. Ryan Braun added an RBI single in the seventh.
Freddy Peralta (3-2), making a spot start, struck out nine and gave up one run in six innings. Josh Hader struck out three in 1⅓ innings for his 14th save in 15 chances.
Peralta didn’t allow a ball out of the infield until giving up a leadoff double to Austin Dean in the fourth inning. Then he struck out Garrett Cooper, Brian Anderson and Starlin Castro to leave Dean stranded.
From the second through fourth innings, Peralta struck out eight of nine batters.
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“Just being aggressive in the game on the mound,” Peralta said. “I know that my fastball is a little bit uncomfortable when I hit in the right spot. That’s why I tried to be aggressive and the speed just comes.”
Peralta was making his first start since May 13, when he gave up two runs and seven hits in four innings against the Phillies. Peralta, in his second season with Milwaukee, was needed as a starter after Jhoulys Chacín joined Gio González on the injured list.
It was Peralta’s best outing since his April 3 start against the Reds, when he gave up two hits and struck out 11 in eight shutout innings.
Brewers centerfielder Lorenzo Cain, who left in the ninth on Wednesday because of a jammed right thumb, was back in the starting lineup. He went 2-for-3 and scored two runs.
Miami’s Caleb Smith (3-4) allowed four runs and six hits in five innings. He has lost four of his past five starts.
“Just three pitches and they scored four runs,” Smith said. “You leave pitches over the middle of the plate, they’re going to hit at any level.”
Trailing 5-1, Miami loaded the bases in the eighth with two outs against reliever Jeremy Jeffress. Hader replaced him and struck out Castro to end the threat.
Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff (7-1, 3.82) faces right-hander Rookie Davis (0-0, 5.87) in the first of a three-game series against the Pirates on Friday at Miller Park. Davis, making his first major league start since Sept. 20, 2017, steps into the rotation in place of righty Nick Kingham.