Perez's 3 RBIs lead Brewers over Pirates 5-3

MILWAUKEE (AP) Pittsburgh's Jameson Taillon remembers Hernan Perez from their days opposing each other in the minors. The rookie right-hander would just as soon forget about him now.

Perez drove in three runs with a two-run homer and an RBI single, lifting the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pirates 5-3 on Saturday night after Pittsburgh dealt closer Mark Melancon to Washington.

Shifted to third in the batting order because Ryan Braun was sidelined by with right-side tightness, Perez hit a two-run homer in the first off rookie Taillon (2-2).

''I actually played him coming up with the Tigers in Double-A and Triple-A,'' Taillon said about Perez's time with Detroit. ''I'm pretty confident I owned him in the minor leagues.''

Not anymore.

''Now is when it counts,'' Taillon said. ''He's got me a couple of times.''

Moved up in the order on Thursday because of Braun's injury, Perez hit a two-run homer off Arizona's Robbie Ray. Perez has seven home runs this season; he had one in 156 games before this year.

''I feel good right now at the plate,'' Perez said. ''I am taking good pitches to swing. Put a good swing on the ball and good things happen.''

Taillon said that the pitch Perez hit for the home run didn't go where he wanted it.

''It was a two-seamer that was supposed to run in on his hands,'' Taillon said. ''It didn't do too much.''

With the trading of third baseman Aaron Hill to Boston on July 7, Perez has been playing more often, usually at third, but he has gotten time at short and right field.

''I feel good right now, getting good pitches to swing at,'' Perez said. ''I'm putting good swings on the ball and making something happen.''

Perez is batting .360 with nine runs, three doubles, three home runs and 14 RBIs since the All-Star break.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell likes what he sees from Perez.

''He's the definition of an improving player for me,'' Counsell said. ''Being able to slip into that spot and still produce, that says something for sure.''

Chase Anderson (6-10) gave up an unearned run and four hits in five innings, striking out a season-high seven. Jeremy Jeffress pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 27 chances, allowing Jordy Mercer's RBI single.

Milwaukee has won eight straight home games against the Pirates and kept two-time All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy on the bench as the Brewers considered trade possibilities.

Jung Ho Kang's RBI single in the fourth cut the gap, but Milwaukee opened a 4-1 lead against reliever Jonathan Niese with two outs in the seventh when Scooter Gennett had a run-scoring bloop single and Perez's third hit of the game drove in another run.

Gregory Polanco hit his 14th homer, an eighth-inning drive off Will Smith. Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered against Neftali Feliz in the bottom half.

Nieuwenhuis saved a run in the fourth with a long throw from right that catcher Martin Maldonado caught on the fly. Kang missed the plate with his slide and Maldonado missed his first tag attempt, the tagged a lunging Maldonado for the inning-ending out.

FREESE OUT

David Freese was ejected by plate umpire Marty Foster for arguing balls and strikes before the Brewers came to bat in the fifth. Freese had just struck out swinging. John Jaso replaced Freese at first base.

TAILLON DENIED

Nieuwenhuis charged Taillon's one-hop line drive in the fifth and fired a strike to first baseman Chris Carter to just get Taillon. That would have been the rookie's first hit in 12 at-bats.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Pirates: Melancon was traded for reliever Felipe Rivero and pitching prospect Taylor Hearn. ''I get the business side of it,'' Melancon said. ''It is what it is. I am just happy I was part of this organization.'' . C Francisco Cervelli was back in the starting lineup after being helped off the field in the eighth inning of Friday night's game. Gennett was hit by a pitch, and the ball ended up catching Cervelli on his inside right foot. ''I feel better,'' Cervelli said. ''I did a lot of treatment last night. In the moment, I thought it was broke. It was hard. It was the same spot I got hit in Miami.''

Brewers: Milwaukee C Jonathan Lucroy was not in the starting lineup for Saturday night's game against the Pirates as the Brewers considered trade possibilities. ... Braun, a late scratch, missed his third consecutive game.

UP NEXT

Pirates: LHP Francisco Liriano (6-10) makes his second start this season against the Brewers. He struck out 13 over 6 2/3 innings and won 5-3 on July 21. He struck out 13 over 6 2-3 innings and won 5-3 on July 21. He needs two strikeouts for 1500 in his career. He has lost four of his last five road decisions.

Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (1-4, 5.74) makes his ninth start of the season and second against the Pirates since being reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on June 14 with a right lat strain. He allowed five runs on eight hits in five innings in the 5-3 loss to Liriano and the Pirates.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.