Wily Peralta has the stuff to be an ace, but he is still learning on the job.
Jay Bruce homered in the third inning on a 3-0 pitch to lift the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
"It was a 3-0 count and he gave up the homer but it wasn't like he gave up more runs that inning," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I thought he bounced back and did OK. He really didn't have his command. I thought he battled through it and kept us in the game.
"Hopefully every outing teaches you something, and you have the aptitude to figure things out."
The 24-year old Peralta, who was rated as the Brewers' top prospect, was upset that he didn't make a key play earlier in the third inning.
Zack Cozart led off with a double into the left-field corner, went to third on Joey Votto's groundout to first, and scored the go-ahead run on Brandon Phillips's checked-swing chopper back to Peralta, who dropped the ball and had to scramble and settle for the out at first.
"I was mad that cost me a run. It's a play I should have made," Peralta said. "I knew Bruce was going to be aggressive with a 3-0 count. I tried to throw the ball down and away but it was pretty much down the middle."
The Brewers played well in the first two games of the series but failed to make several plays.
Peralta gave up all five Reds runs - four earned - in 5 1-3 innings. The slumping Peralta (4-8) allowed seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts to fall to 1-6 in his last seven starts.
Donald Lutz drove in two runs with a pinch-hit single, and Cozart and Votto each had two hits as Cincinnati rebounded after losing 6-0 on Saturday.
"This is a good team (Reds) we played. You have to play well to beat them," Roenicke said. "Defensively, we didn't play well at all. Offensively, I know (Johnny) Cueto is a great pitcher. We didn't have a lot of opportunities against him."
Cueto, activated from the disabled list on Sunday, improved to 4-0 in his seventh start of the season. He allowed five hits and one run with three strikeouts and no walks as the Reds took two of three in the weekend series.
Cueto made his first start since a 6-0 win at Pittsburgh on May 31. He was placed on the disabled list on June 5 for the second time this season because of a strained muscle in his right shoulder.
Carlos Gomez hit the first pitch he saw - and Cueto's seventh delivery - into the left-field seats for his 12th homer of the season to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead.
"The first inning I was thinking too much," Cueto said. "When I got back to the bench, (Cesar) Izturis came in and said, `You're good.' I came back with a different mentality."
The Reds tied it with an unearned run without benefit of a hit in the second. Xavier Paul led off with a walk, and Jack Hannahan followed with a chopper to second baseman Rickie Weeks, whose throw bounced past first baseman Juan Francisco for an error.
Hannahan was forced out at second, and Paul moved to third on Ryan Hanigan's grounder. Cueto drove in Paul with a squeeze bunt.
Alfredo Simon allowed two hits and had six strikeouts in three innings for his first save of the season and second in two years with Cincinnati. Simon struck out Norichika Aoki with two runners on base in the seventh inning. It was just the 15th time Aoki struck out in 263 at bats.
Bruce followed with his 12th homer, a 469-foot drive, that landed two-thirds of the way up the right-field seats.
The Reds added two runs with one out in the sixth on Hannahan's walk, Hanigan's double off the left-field wall, and Lutz's pinch-hit single up the middle against Mike Gonzalez.
NOTES: The Reds optioned RHP Pedro Villarreal to Triple-A Louisville to make room on the roster for Cueto. ... Reds OF Chris Heisey is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Monday. Heisey has been on the disabled list since April 29 with a strained right hamstring. ... Milwaukee RHP Marco Estrada is expected to throw a bullpen session Monday. Estrada has been on the disabled list since June 5 with a strained left hamstring ... The Reds will open their first home series against Central Division-rival Pittsburgh. RHP Mike Leake (6-3) is scheduled to start Monday for Cincinnati. ... Milwaukee is off Monday before opening a three-game series in Houston. Alfredo Figaro (1-0) is scheduled to start on Tuesday.