Braun homers twice, Brewers top Mets 3-0
Ryan Braun helped the Brewers head out on a crucial road trip with plenty of confidence.
Braun hit two home runs and rookie pitcher Wily Peralta gave up two singles in eight innings, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the New York Mets 3-0 Sunday.
On Tuesday, Milwaukee begins goes to Pittsburgh for three games. Then it's off to NL East-leading Washington for four games before a three-game trip to Central-leading Cincinnati.
This road trip is going to be a tough road trip, and we know it," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said.
The Brewers began Sunday 2 1-2 games out of the second wild card spot behind St. Louis, which played later at Los Angeles.
"A month ago we were out of it," Aramis Ramirez said. "All of a sudden we got hot. We're right there. We've got a chance."
Braun, the reigning NL MVP, now has 201 home runs in his career, as Milwaukee won for the 20th time in its last 26 games.
Peralta (2-0) struck out five and walked one in his third start, and got his first major league hit when he doubled in the seventh.
"He's been amazing," Braun said. "I look at his stuff, and I don't know how he's not the top prospect in baseball. He has dominant stuff. There are very few guys who have stuff like that in baseball."
John Axford pitched the ninth for his 29th save.
New York's Chris Young (4-8) threw 6 2-3 innings and allowed three runs - all solo homers -- and eight hits.
"He's a fly ball pitcher," New York manager Terry Collins said. "If you get enough of the ball here, it's going to get out. But he pitched well. He kept us in the game. Two hits isn't going to get us very far."
The Mets lost for the eighth time in nine games.
Braun is the sixth Brewers player to reach 200 homers and seventh to reach 40 in a season. His homer to lead off the sixth was his 103rd run batted in of the year and gave Milwaukee a 3-0 lead.
"Individual accomplishments are always far more enjoyable when they come in the context of a team win, a meaningful win," Braun said. "We're in a position where every obviously every game is of the utmost importance. It's certainly easier to enjoy it when it comes on a day like this."
In the fourth, Braun also led off with a deep home run to right-center. Aramis Ramirez, the featured bobblehead giveaway at Miller Park, followed by smashing another long blast to left-center for a 2-0 lead.
That was more than enough Peralta, who led Milwaukee to its 19th victory in its last 22 home games. He stranded Josh Thole at second by getting Ruben Tejada to fly out in the third. In the sixth, Andres Torres led off with a single and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Young. Tejada fouled out and Daniel Murphy grounded out, however.
NOTES: Milwaukee broke its single-season strikeout record when Peralta struck out Lucas Duda in the second. The Brewers now have 1,261 strikeouts, which leads the NL. . Braun had 33 homers last year. . Young is 2-7 in his last 13 starts. . Milwaukee has at least one extra-base hit in its last 85 games. . On Monday, New York begins a 10-day homestand, its second-longest of the year. . Milwaukee first baseman Corey Hart has not played since he sprained his left ankle last Sunday.
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