DENVER — Pedro Peralta cries every time his son Freddy pitches, and watching him make his major league debut was certain to bring tears.
Young Freddy made sure they were tears of joy.
Peralta took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning of his first big league start and set a Milwaukee rookie record with 13 strikeouts, leading the Brewers over the Colorado Rockies 7-3 on Sunday.
It became a memorable Mother’s Day for Pedro, Peralta’s mother, Octavia, and his girlfriend, Maritza, who came to Colorado expecting to watch him pitch professionally for the first time at Triple-A Colorado Springs. But a stomach illness forced Chase Anderson to miss his Saturday start against the Rockies, and Peralta’s start for the Sky Sox was scratched so he could pitch for the Brewers on Sunday.
The news brought more tears for Pedro.
"I know he cries a lot," Peralta said. "Like (Saturday), when I told him what was going on, he started crying."
A 21-year-old right-hander who was 5-1 this season at Colorado Springs, Peralta (1-0) didn’t allow a hit until David Dahl hit a sharp single to centre with one out in the sixth. Peralta froze Charlie Blackmon on a 92 mph fastball for a called third strike and was replaced by Matt Albers.
As he walked off the mound, the enormity of the moment nearly overcame him.
"I was like, ‘Oh my god, I did it. I’m here,"’ he said. "I almost started to cry. Almost."
Peralta walked two in 5 2/3 innings and left after 98 pitches. He broke the Brewers rookie strikeouts record of 12 shared by Teddy Higuera (1985), Juan Nieves (1986), Cal Eldred (1992) and Steve Woodard (1997).
His 13 strikeouts are the fourth-most in major league debuts and the most since Washington’s Stephen Strasburg had 14 on June 8, 2010, according to the Brewers.
"He got his emotions out in the first three pitches and kept getting better," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "You could see by the swings they weren’t comfortable with the fastball."
Peralta struck out Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story in order in both the second and fourth innings. Colorado loaded the bases in the third on a fielding error by third baseman Travis Shaw and two walks before Blackmon grounded out.
"His stuff was on point tonight," Colorado’s Tony Wolters said. "I swung at some pitches and I’m like, ‘Why didn’t I hit that?’ It just keeps cutting. Yeah, he’s a good pitcher."
Jon Gray (4-5) gave up six runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"I feel like I had good stuff. Just didn’t locate very well," Gray said. "I feel like I couldn’t command my fastball."
Shaw and Jesus Aguilar homered for the Brewers, who opened a 7-0 lead by the sixth.
Tyler Saladino’s RBI double and Christian Yelich’s two-run single built a three-run lead in the second, Shaw made it 4-0 in the third with his ninth homer, and Aguilar hit a three-run homer against Harrison Musgrave in the sixth.
Wolters homered in the seventh against Albers, and Dahl hit a two-run drive in the eighth off Dan Jennings.
Colorado batters struck out 60 times during the six-game homestand, including 15 in Sunday’s loss, which means they made 38.5 per cent of their outs without putting the ball in play.
"We’re not happy about that. We got to make sure that those strikeouts totals come down for sure," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "It’s not something that we’re going to stand for as we move forward."
With Arenado’s two-out single in the sixth, he has now reached base safely in 23 consecutive games since April 12, the second longest streak of his career. He reached in 30 straight in 2014.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davis (right shoulder) played catch again, and the Brewers hope to know more Monday about his availability.
Brewers: RHP Junior Guerra (2-3, 3.09) will open a three-game series in Arizona on Monday night.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (2-1, 4.23) starts a three-game series in San Diego on Monday night.