CHICAGO — Wily Peralta feels like he's getting close.
However, the Milwaukee right-hander, who had 17 victories last year, remained winless through five starts this season after the Brewers' 1-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
Peralta (0-4) was solid through six innings, allowing a season-low one earned run after giving up Addison Russell's first major league home run in the third inning.
Peralta struck out six on a day when he threw 118 pitches, but his offering to Russell on a 3-2 count made the difference.
"I didn't want to walk him," Peralta said. "I don't want to walk nobody. I just tried to hit my spot and (Russell) homered and that was the ballgame right there."
When the count got to 3-2, Russell was just hoping for the best.
"I'm just happy that I got a good pitch to hit and I didn't try to do too much," Russell said. "It went out."
That proved to be the lone blemish on Peralta's day. His final strikeout of the day came against Cubs catcher David Ross. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Ross was going to be Peralta's final hitter because of where his pitch count was.
"He's battling too hard for his stuff," Roenicke said. "He's doing a great job because he doesn't have his good command and he keeps us in ballgames. You look at his outing today and he gives up one run and it's a real nice job, but he's working way too hard to get to that."
Peralta matched up with Cubs starter Jon Lester (1-2) who allowed just three hits, struck out four and walked one in his best outing of the season.
The Brewers have lost 13 of their past 16 games and were hoping to build on an 8-3 win over Cincinnati when Milwaukee pounded out 12 hits, including four home runs. The Brewers finished Friday's loss with just four hits.
The Brewers loaded the bases with two outs in the second inning, but Lester struck out Peralta to get out of a jam.
"We had three hits there until the last inning," Roenicke said. "It is frustrating."
Brewers: OF Carlos Gomez is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. He's been out with a strained right hamstring since April 16. ... 2B Scooter Gennett begins a rehab assignment with Class A Wisconsin on Friday night. He's on the disabled list with a left hand laceration. ... 3B Aramis Ramirez missed the game with left hamstring tightness. He is day to day.
In the first inning with no outs, Dexter Fowler was thrown out trying to go from first to third on Jorge Soler's single. Then the inning ended when Anthony Rizzo was caught stealing on Kris Bryant's strikeout. In the sixth, Starlin Castro tried to go first to third on a single, but he was thrown out by RF Ryan Braun.
Brewers: Mike Fiers (0-3, 5.79 ERA) was 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts against the Cubs last season.
Cubs: Jake Arietta (3-1, 2.03 ERA) has been the most dependable starter for Cubs.
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