MILWAUKEE -- The Mets' 2-0 victory over the Brewers on Sunday acted as a microcosm of what brought the team success on its 10-game road trip to open the second half -- stellar pitching supported by just enough offense.
"We saw very good pitching on this trip," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "You've got to get big hits. We didn't get a lot of hits. We got big hits. That's how you do it. Hopefully it keeps going."
This time, the big hit came off the bat of the red-hot Lucas Duda, who hit a decisive two-run home run in the sixth off Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson. It was his 18th home run of the season and fourth in sixth days.
The blast propped up a strong start from another young, streaking Met, Jacob deGrom, who lasted 6 1/3 innings, yielding only four hits to a dangerous Milwaukee lineup.
With the victory, the Mets split the series with Milwaukee and finished this long road trip at 5-5.
"It's huge for us. It's really big for us," Collins said of the strong trip. "We've come out in the second half before, at the start of it, and not played very good. When you start the second half with a 10-day road trip and you play two teams that are fighting for the playoffs, it's a big test. Our guys rose and played very well."
The Mets finished with a .500 record on the trip through San Diego, Seattle and Milwaukee despite the fact that opponents outscored New York, 36-22.
While the Mets offense wasted a number of opportunities, going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position for a second straight game, it didn't need many runs to support deGrom. Over his last four starts, all wins, he's allowed two earned runs over 27 1/3 innings, good for a 0.66 ERA. He hasn't allowed a home run in nine starts.
That dominance continued Sunday, though the Brewers sent his pitch count skyrocketing by fouling off many of his early offerings.
"They were late on the fastball, so I kept going with it," deGrom said. "They just kept fouling it off. I was thinking eventually I'd get one by them. Just keeping a positive mindset out there. It's kind of frustrating when they foul off a bunch of pitches, but I wasn't really leaving any over the middle of the plate for them to get, so that helped out."
"The command that he has with the type of pitches he has -- the velocity and life on the fastball to both sides of the plate, then mixing in the changeup and the slider, he's tough," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "He doesn't miss too much with it up in the zone. Everything always seems to be down."
deGrom allowed only two hits through six innings, and his dominance convinced Collins to stay with him to start the seventh despite entering the frame with 109 pitches. Collins said the decision came partially because deGrom will get an extra day of rest before his next start on Saturday, since the Mets have an off-day on Thursday.
He was lifted when two of the first three Brewers hitters singled, but Vic Black came in to retire pinch-hitters Scooter Gennett and Aramis Ramirez to end the threat.
"He asked me if I was alright and I wanted to go back out there," deGrom said. "Me and [catcher Anthony] Recker had a really good idea. Even the two hits they got in the seventh, a couple of ground balls, one way or the other, they could easily be outs if they were a little bit either way. I was happy that I went back out there."
Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, ensuring that Duda's home run would be enough.
The first baseman was typically understated after hitting his second game-winning home run of the series.
"I'm just happy I can contribute," Duda said. "It's definitely fun any time you win. That's the main goal. We had a great road trip. We've been pitching well. We've had some timely hitting."
His manager was a bit more excited about his recent hot streak.
"He's had a tremendous road trip," Collins said. "You certainly can't say enough about the way he's hit the ball. Let's just hope he remains hot, because he's going to put up some big numbers in the next couple months. We get guys on base ahead of him. If he continues to swing the bat the way he is, he's going to produce some runs."
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.