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Aguilar homers as Brewers beat Braves 5-4

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jesus Aguilar hit his 20th homer, rookie Freddy Peralta pitched six sharp innings and the surging Milwaukee Brewers held off the Atlanta Braves 5-4 on Friday night.

Tyler Saladino also homered for the Brewers, who have won five straight to extend their NL Central lead to 2 1/2 games over the second-place Cubs.

After Peralta (4-1) departed, Atlanta rallied for three runs in the seventh off Jacob Barnes. But the Braves’ rally faltered when they failed to score with two on and no out after Dan Jennings replaced Barnes, and then left two on with one out in the eighth against Jeremy Jeffress.

Corey Knebel worked around a one-out single in the ninth for his 11th save. Atlanta has lost a season-high four straight.

Due to injuries, Peralta has gone from a fast-rising prospect into a vital piece of Milwaukee’s rotation. The rookie right-hander allowed one run and three hits, struck out six and walked three.

Aguilar’s towering 433-foot homer to straightway center off Mike Foltynewicz (6-5) capped a five-run rally that put Milwaukee ahead for good.

Foltynewicz, who had allowed five runs over his previous nine starts, allowed that many in the span of six hitters in the third inning.

Saladino’s two-run shot was his first following a five-week stint on the disabled list due to a sprained left ankle. After Peralta struck out and Eric Thames singled, Christian Yelich was hit by a breaking ball on the inside of the left knee.

When Yelich reached first, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman kissed his own hand and playfully massaged Yelich’s left knee.

Yelich and the Brewers felt better moments later when Aguilar homered off Foltynewicz’s 98 mph belt-high fastball, giving Milwaukee a 5-1 lead.

Foltynewicz went six innings, allowing six hits and striking out seven.

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