Mon. Final: Mets 4, Brewers 2
By Todd Welter
Next game: Tuesday, September 2nd vs. New York.
The Brewers bullpen was tasked with holding a 2-0 lead after Ben Sheets prematurely left the game in the fifth with tightness in his left groin. There was some drama along the way but it looked the bullpen was going to achieve its objective. That was until Eric Gagne pitched the eighth inning and everything came crashing down. Gagne gave up a two-run home run to Carlos Delgado and a RBI double to Ryan Church which added up to a 4-2 Brewers' loss to the New York Mets at Miller Park.
"Every once and a while, you got to have the pitching to win a 2-1 ballgame and we didn't do that today," Brewers Manager Ned Yost said.
Sheets made the most of his limited time as he allowed just three base runners on two hits and a walk. He retired the last eight batters he faced.
"Warming up for the third inning the groin got a little tight," Sheets explained when he was starting to feel the tightness. "It was starting to loosen up a little bit more but Ned thought that was enough for the day. I think I am going to be all right."
"Do you want to take a chance of losing him? I don't, so I take no chances with starting pitchers this time of year," Yost explained why he pulled Sheets.
Carlos Villanueva, Brian Shouse, David Riske, Mitch Stetter teamed up to try to give Sheets a shot at his 13th win. Then Gagne left a 0-2 fastball right down the plate that Delgado properly teed off on, sending it into the deep reaches of the right field bleachers. Gagne (4-3) picked up the loss for blowing the lead.
"He was trying to make a 0-2 pitch and he just didn't make it," Yost thought. "He got too much of the plate. It wasn't a pitch he was trying to throw a strike with. It wasn't like he was standing on the mound saying 'okay I'm just going to throw this one down the middle.' This is a tough game and that is why only special people can play it at this level and their not perfect."
The Mets did not mount many scoring chances against Sheets but they did have more than a few chances to get on the scoreboard in between Sheets's early departure and Gagne coughing up the lead.
The Mets mounted a threat in the sixth when Villenueva walked Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy hit a single. The Mets ended up with nothing to show for the effort as Villenueva struck out David Wright's potent bat and then Shouse came in to retire Delgado.
The Mets finally did crack the Brewers bullpen for a run in the seventh. Carlos Beltran led off the inning with a double off Shouse. Shouse would get the next two hitters out but he was pulled for Riske who did not enjoy the same success. Riske issued free passes to Brian Schneider and Fernando Tatis to load up the bases. Ned Yost called upon Mitch Stetter but Stetter's wild pitch allowed Beltran to score. Stetter was able to keep the lead intact as he got Reyes to fly out to end the inning.
Johan Santana quieted the Brewers bats for most of the six innings he pitched. The Brewers did get seven hits off the ace but ended up charging only two runs to Santana. Santana also struck out 10 and walked just one. Nelson Figueroa (3-3) got the win and Luis Ayala picked up his fourth save.
Ryan Braun provided the majority of what little offense the Brewers could muster against Santana and company. Braun had three hits including a RBI double in the first that gave the Crew the first run of the game.
The Crew got another run in the sixth as Santana committed a balk that allowed Prince Fielder to plate a run.
The Mets improve to 77-61 while the Brewers drop to 75-56. Game two of this three game set will have a pair of lefties on the mound. Manny Parra (10-6, 4.00ERA) starts for the Brewers and Jonathon Niese makes his Major League debut for the Mets.