Freddy Peralta

Brewers starting pitcher Freddy Peralta was having very little trouble with the Cubs' lineup. So little trouble, in fact, that he had a no-hitter going through six innings. The only baserunner he allowed had reached via walk and, thanks to a caught stealing the same inning, Peralta had only faced the minimum of 18 hitters in his six innings. 

Heading to the seventh, Brewers manager Craig Counsell removed Peralta from the game in favor of reliever Matt Bush

The first hitter Bush faced, Cubs' leadoff man Nick Madrigal, reached on an error on a grounder to third base. After a Willson Contreras groundout, All-Star left fielder Ian Happ went deep: 

Thanks to Cubs starter Justin Steele continuing to throw the ball very well, the Brewers had only put one run on the board -- a solo homer from Tyrone Taylor

Just like that, the Brewers had gone from looking at a no-hitter to trailing. 

The rest of the game was pretty wild, and it would up being a 4-3 Cubs win in 10 innings. Let's circle back to that after discussing Peralta. 

The 2021 All-Star had thrown 82 pitches through his six innings. His season high is 102, so even if we look at the matter from this perspective, the odds of him throwing another three no-hit innings without extending sizably past his season-high workload were very low. That had to have entered Counsell's mind. 

Of course, the bigger factor was surely the long-term health of Peralta. He missed time last season with a shoulder injury and was out between May 22 and Aug. 3 this season with another shoulder issue. This was his fifth start since returning and he worked up to 95 pitches last time, but Counsell is juggling a lot right here. With a complete game so unlikely for Peralta, the decision to pull his pitcher with a no-hitter going was made by the veteran manager. 

As discussed above, the decision appeared to backfire. The Brewers did end up giving themselves a chance to salvage the victory, though, as Rowdy Tellez homered in the ninth to tie it up and send the game to extras. 

Then, it was Mr. Happ again. 

The Brewers staged a rally in the bottom of the 10th but would only manage one run before a bases-loaded double play ended things. 

If there's a silver lining for the Brewers, it's that the Cardinals lost. That means the Brewers remain six games back instead of losing more ground. Of course, it really seems like a missed opportunity to gain one. What's worse, the three wild card teams all won, meaning the Brewers now fall 2 1/2 games back of the Padres for the third spot. They are now five behind the Phillies for the second spot. 

The Brewers were in first place throughout most of the first half of the season and still led going into August. They've gone 8-14 this month, a stretch that includes a 2-7 record against the Pirates, Reds and Cubs.