Suppan, Coffey lift Brewers over Mets
Starter, reliever hold New York in check to salvage finale
NEW YORK -- The ball shot hard and fast off the bat of Mets slugger Carlos Delgado, hit off Todd Coffey's glove, shot straight up in the air and came back into the Milwaukee reliever's grasp.
Coffey, who had just taken the mound, fired the ball to Jason Kendall for an out at the plate. The catcher gunned a throw to first base to complete a double play that preserved Milwaukee's slim one-run lead and ended the seventh inning.
Coffey pitched 2 2/3 innings to finish the game and earn his first save as a Brewer. He also set down a perfect sacrifice bunt that led to a cushion run in the ninth inning of a 4-2 Brewers win over the Mets before a crowd of 36,124 at Citi Field on Sunday.
"There's not a whole lot more I can say about what Todd Coffey has done this year," Brewers manager Ken Macha said after his struggling team improved to 4-8 with a nail-biting win over the Mets, which included a start by Jeff Suppan that had everyone hoping the veteran is back on track, and a couple of big hits by Rickie Weeks and Mike Cameron.
"Two huge double plays in the seventh and eighth innings and he gets the outs in the ninth and gets down a perfect sacrifice bunt," Macha added.
The manager had good reason to be in high spirits. His team had lost two tough one-run games to the Mets and had to battle all day Sunday. They're off Monday and begin a series in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
"I went in and told all the guys this was a great series," Macha said. "Three well-played games, tight well-played games played all the way to the end. We scratched and we clawed. Sooner or later, the hits are going to start falling in. They should have a nice day off [Monday] and think about how we played this series."
Coffey, who was claimed off waivers from Cincinnati last September, hasn't given up a run in 16 appearances with Milwaukee. He has come into games three times with the bases loaded this season and not yielded a run.
Of course, Coffey might not have had a chance for his heroics had Suppan not done his job. The starter had been 0-2 with a 12.91 ERA in two starts this year and winless in 10 starts with a 10.13 ERA dating back to a win against Pittsburgh last Aug. 20.
Suppan didn't want to dwell on seasons past. He talked as though time began with his first pitch of this season.
"This is my third game of 2009," Suppan said after containing the Mets to two runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out four in six-plus innings. "Last season is over with."
The game didn't start smoothly for Suppan. The Mets scored a run on two hits, a walk and a wild pitch in the first. But he settled down, yielding just three hits over the next four innings and survived a pair of two-out hits in the sixth.
Milwaukee tied the game in the third when Corey Hart led off with a single, stole his first base and scored on a groundout by Prince Fielder. Suppan, like Coffey later on, used his bat for a positive when he led off the fifth with a single to right, took third on a double by Weeks and scored on a sacrifice fly by Hart.
Macha tried to let Suppan become the first Milwaukee starter to pitch seven innings this season, even though Gary Sheffield had slammed a hard double to left in the bottom of the sixth.
"Kind of," Macha said when asked if he thought about replacing Suppan, who was the leadoff batter in the top of the seventh. "But I did my usual. I asked him how he was going and he said he was fine.''
Suppan gave up a leadoff triple to Omir Santos in the seventh. A run scored and two relievers worked before Coffey was called in to restore order and save the day with the bases loaded.
"You have no room for error," Coffey said. "You have to get a ground ball, or you've got to get a strikeout.
"That ball came off my glove and went straight up. It was a hard shot. It could have bounced to the left, it could have bounced to the right. But it bounced straight up. I grabbed it and threw the ball for the out at home."
Coffey also got a double-play liner to third after the first two Mets reached base in the eighth.
The 6-foot-4, 241-pound reliever helped his own cause in the ninth with his first plate appearance since 2005. Kendall beat out an infield hit to start the inning, so Macha let the reliever bat. Coffey set down a nice bunt to the third-base side. Weeks followed with a run-scoring single down the left-field line that gave the Brewers a 4-2 lead.
Cameron had produced the Brewers' third run in the sixth, lining a pitch into the first row of the seats in left-center above the 384-foot marker.
"I had to hit it with everything I've got and I still didn't think it was going out," Cameron said, a soothing Bob Marley tune playing softly from the sound system in his locker.
"It was good, man," Cameron said. "It was good today."
Kit Stier is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.