Brewers hang on after outslugging Mets
Double plays in five straight innings help preserve series win
NEW YORK -- The Brewers made a lot of noise with their bats Sunday, rallying from an early four-run deficit for a 9-7 win over the Mets at Shea Stadium.But they saved the game with their gloves. Milwaukee defenders tied a club record with five double plays, turning a twin-killing in every inning from the fourth to the eighth and helping Brewers pitchers limit the potential damage of 14 Mets hits and eight walks. "I don't remember the last time I walked three guys in one game," said winning pitcher Salomon Torres (2-0), who pitched two scoreless innings of relief, thanks partly to two double plays. "To be able to bear down and put the pitch where I wanted it and get the double plays, that's priceless, especially when you're facing one of the best clubs in the National League." Eric Gagne did not give his teammates a chance to extend the streak in the ninth inning, when he retired three Mets in order for his third save of the season and second in as many afternoons. The Brewers took the series, 2-1, and won their final regular-season game at Shea Stadium, which will be replaced by the new Citi Field next season. Mets reliever Jorge Sosa (1-1), who surrendered Rickie Weeks' go-ahead solo home run leading off the sixth inning, was tagged with the loss. "We made some crunch-time plays that were very beneficial to our business," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. Both starting pitchers struggled. Mets left-hander Oliver Perez did not allow a run in either of his first two starts, but hit Weeks with a pitch leading off Sunday's game before Gabe Kapler made it 2-0 with a two-run home run down the left-field line. It was Kapler's second homer in as many afternoons and the fourth of his surprising early season, and he finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Corey Hart entered in an 0-for-8 slump, but set a career high with four hits, and Weeks scored three runs to help the Brewers claw back against Perez from an early 6-2 deficit. Jason Kendall and Ryan Braun drove in two runs apiece in the top of the fourth inning to forge a tie. The Mets built their early lead against Brewers starter Jeff Suppan, who has a history of success in New York and against the Mets in general, but fought command issues from the start on Sunday. In four innings, he surrendered six earned runs on nine hits and two walks, one of which was intentional. "This one was a battle," Suppan said. "My command wasn't where I needed it to be, and I just tried to work with it. Fortunately, we scored a lot of runs and the bullpen did a lot to get that 'W.'" Give the Mets some credit. "They took a lot of walks," Suppan said. "They weren't chasing out of the zone." At least two of the twin-killings saved a run, and both involved Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder. In the fourth inning with Suppan on the mound, the Mets had runners at first and third with one out when Carlos Beltran smoked a line drive right at Fielder, who caught it and stepped on the bag to double off Luis Castillo and end the inning. Was the first of Milwaukee's five straight double plays the momentum-killer? "I do believe in that," Suppan said. "They only scored one more run after that." Fielder made another slick play in the eighth, with former Met Guillermo Mota struggling to hold a 9-7 lead and runners at second and third with nobody out. Luis Castillo hit a grounder to Fielder, who stepped on first base and threw home in time to double up Brady Clark. Mota walked the next two hitters to load the bases for Mets cleanup hitter Carlos Delgado, who popped out to right field on a 2-1 pitch. "The double play took them out of a big inning," said Mota, who surrendered two singles and two walks in the inning but no runs. "That was the key to the inning, right there." Mota was pitching in hostile territory. He put up a 5.76 ERA as a Mets reliever last season, and the Flushing fans did not let him forget about it on Sunday, booing Mota after the public address announcer introduced him. "Everybody starts with a fresh slate for me," Yost said. "Mota has been excellent for us. I had not a zero bit of reservation [bringing him into the game]." Said Mota of the booing: "I don't think about that. You have to pitch in any situation. They rang the phone for me, so I want to be there. Any situation, any place." That would be a good mantra for the Brewers, who have won their first two road series against teams -- the Cubs and Mets -- that are expected to contend. Last year, the Brewers were 32-49 on the road. "That's a big win for us, to fall back, 6-2, at that one time and then battle right back and put the pressure on them," Yost said. "Good sign for the offense."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.