07/01/09 12:29 AM ET
Braun's big night gives Burns, Crew win
Slugger drives in four runs as righty gets first win in Majors
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
"It wasn't about frustration, it was more about letting everybody know we needed to play better baseball," Santana said. "If we don't play better baseball, we're not going to win. If we don't make routine plays, if we don't execute it the way it's supposed to be executed, if we don't pitch the right pitch, we're not going to win."
"Their guy falling down, the error, all of those things came back to haunt them," Braun said. "Johan is not going to make too many mistakes. He's not going to give up too many runs, so you have to take advantage of every mistake that they make."Santana struck out Braun to end the sixth inning, but Braun again got the upper hand. Including three hits on Tuesday, Braun is an impressive 7-for-13 against Santana in his career. "It's nearly impossible. I doubt there are too many guys who have had any type of prolonged success against him," Braun said. "You just go out there and battle, you compete every pitch, and that's what we did today. We were able to get some big hits." Burns made those hits stand up. "He pitched great," Braun said. "It's awesome to get him his first win. Well-deserved. It's important to have guys be able to step up and throw the ball well, like he has for us. You're never going to get through the year with five starters." Burns had to settle in after a long first inning. Five days after losing to the Twins in his first Major League start, Burns walked Mets leadoff man Alex Cora. Two batters later, Wright connected for an opposite-field home run, just his fifth homer this season. "Sooner or later, I'll figure out how to throw strikes to the first batter of the game," said Burns, who also walked Minnesota's leadoff man on June 25. "First inning I was still a little antsy, flying open a little bit. Once I gave up the two-run home run, I thought, 'I have to keep them right there for us to have a chance.'" Gary Sheffield followed with a single, but Burns then faced only two batters more than the minimum over his final 6 1/3 innings of work. He limited the Mets (37-39) to two runs on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Manager Ken Macha provided more statistical fodder. "I'll give you a few numbers," Macha said. "He walks the first hitter and then no walks after that. Sixty-six strikes, 29 balls. He throws a curve, fastball, slider, changeup, and with every one of those pitches he was more than 50 percent strikes. He threw 16 first-pitch strikes. If you throw first-pitch strikes, you make the batter swing the bat, and he got 10 outs in three pitches or less. "I think it's especially impressive going up against Johan Santana," Macha added. "[Burns] had given up two runs with only one out in the first inning, and then settled down and pitched a great game for us." Reliever Mark DiFelice took over with two outs in the seventh and finished the inning, then combined with Todd Coffey to finish the game. The Brewers will go for a three-game sweep behind their own ace, Yovani Gallardo, on Thursday. It meant something, Burns said, to beat a two-time Cy Young Award winner. "He's a great pitcher," Burns said of Santana. "No matter how good you are, one of those outings can happen. But he's also going against a good lineup. We've got one of the best lineups in baseball."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.