PHOENIX -- Wily Peralta breezed through six innings in his next-to-last start before Opening Day, and was backed by a trio of home runs in the Brewers' 9-2 win over the Royals on Thursday at Maryvale Baseball Park.
Martin Maldonado and Chris Carter hit three-run homers, and Eric Young Jr. added a two-run shot to back Peralta, who turned in his best performance of the spring four days after manager Craig Counsell tabbed the 26-year-old for his first Opening Day assignment. Peralta allowed one run on four hits, the only damage coming on Eric Hosmer's home run in the fourth inning.
Peralta struck out three batters and walked none. He entered the game with an 11.70 ERA after four Cactus League starts.
After Hosmer's homer snapped a scoreless tie, the Brewers answered with four runs in the fourth inning against Royals starter Dillon Gee. Jonathan Villar put Milwaukee on the board with an RBI single and scored on Maldonado's towering home run to left field.
Gee logged three hitless frames before laboring in the fourth.
"I felt pretty good early on. That last inning, I lost my release point and struggled with my command," Gee said. "Early on I was mixing my pitches and hitting my spots."
"I thought he was really sharp for the first three innings," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But that home run [by Maldonado] -- that doesn't even get to the warning track at Kauffman Stadium."
Carter went deep in the fifth inning, his team-leading fourth homer this spring. Young, a last-minute lineup addition after Ryan Braun was scratched with a stiff back, hit his two-run homer in the sixth off left-hander Danny Duffy to make it 9-1.
The homers were the first of the spring for Maldonado and Young.
The defensive play of the day belonged to Brewers center field candidate Keon Broxton, who made a diving catch for the second out of the eighth before throwing to second base to double-up Royals outfielder Travis Snider.
Up next for Brewers: Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is expected to return to action on Friday, when the Brewers take on the Cubs at 3:05 p.m. CT in Mesa. Lucroy, who has been so prominent in trade rumors that he told USA Today recently he hadn't even made arrangements for in-season housing in Milwaukee, will catch starter Jimmy Nelson. Listen to a free exclusive webcast or watch it live on MLB.TV.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.