Brewers eye sweep of struggling Reds

The Milwaukee Brewers take aim at a three-game sweep of the struggling Cincinnati Reds when the two NL Central clubs conclude their series on Wednesday afternoon.

The Brewers had lost five of their first six meetings with the Reds this season, all in Cincinnati, but are in position to sweep their division mates at home for a second straight season.

After getting a dramatic game-saving catch from Carlos Gomez in Monday's series-opening win, the Brewers cruised to a 2-0 victory last night behind Wily Peralta's first career shutout.

In fact, it marked the first time that a Milwaukee pitcher logged a complete game since Yovani Gallardo on April 5, 2011, ending a span of 407 regular- season games. That was the longest active streak in the majors.

Peralta gave up three hits and four walks while striking out six.

"Wily had outstanding command today. His slider was working well, and as the game went on he had some really good change-ups," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "As you watched him on the mound you could see his confidence grow, you could see it in his body language."

Tony Cingrani was solid on the hill for the Reds, striking out 10 over seven innings. His lone mistake came in the fifth frame, when he walked Martin Maldonado before serving up a two-run homer to Logan Schafer.

It was the first homer of Schafer's career and it came in his 100th major league game.

"Tony threw a really good game. He walked Maldonado and gave up Schafer's only home run. That's what happens when you're not playing well," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Cincinnati has lost four of its past five to fall five games off the pace in the NL Central.

Milwaukee's Ryan Braun returned to the lineup for the first time after missing a month of action due to a right thumb contusion. He went 1-for-3 amid a new report from ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that he is facing a possible suspension and was uncooperative with Major League Baseball officials with their investigation in the Biogenesis case.

"In regards to that whole crazy situation, the truth still hasn't changed," Braun said. "I'm still going to continue to respect the process and not discuss anything in the media. Beyond that, the vast majority of stories that have come out are inaccurate. But aside from that I'm not going to say anything else tonight."

In regards to on-the-field action, Roenicke would like to see Johnny Hellweg harness his potential in today's finale that will see the 24-year-old rookie make the third start of his career and fourth overall appearance.

Hellweg is 0-2 with a 12.79 earned run average in the majors, giving up 16 runs over 6 1/3 innings, though only nine of those are earned.

"He has a great fastball, a nice moving fastball, and a great breaking ball, but he has to command those pitches. Unless you can command it in the big leagues, you're not going to do well," Roenicke said after Hellweg was hammered for seven runs -- three earned -- over 3 2/3 innings of a loss to the New York Mets on Friday.

Mike Leake will face the Brewers for the fourth time in his career today looking to record his first ever decision against them. He hopes it is a positive one, though he owns an ERA of 4.91 against them.

Leake was solid in back-to-back no-decisions and had an ERA of 1.31 over his previous nine outings before a loss versus Seattle on Friday. The right-hander yielded four runs on five hits and a walk in five innings, the most earned runs he allowed since giving up four on May 8.

In what was the 100th appearance of his career, the 25-year-old Leake gave up a two-run homer on his fourth pitch of the game and was taken deep again later in the contest after having given up just three homers over his previous nine outings.

Leake is 7-4 with a 2.73 ERA in 17 starts this season.