Friday, July 25, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Mets 3, Brewers 2
By Joe Totoraitis | Special to ESPNNewYork.com
MILWAUKEE -- Lucas Duda’s career-high 17th home run, a two-run blast in the top of the ninth, saved the day for the New York Mets.
Trailing the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0, New York rallied for a 3-2 victory with three runs in the top of the ninth off former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, highlighted by Duda's line-drive shot into the right-field bleachers.
Jenrry Mejia pitched the bottom of the ninth for his 14th save.
He made it interesting when he walked pinch hitter Jonathan Lucroy to lead off. Logan Schafer pinch-hit for Rodriguez, but Mejia got him to strike out trying to move Lucroy to second. Carlos Gomez chased a nasty slider for the second out, and then Rickie Weeks fanned to end the game.
Carlos Torres took over for Vic Black to start the eighth and held the Brewers in check. Rodriguez took the loss, thanks to his fourth blown save of the season.
The rally saved Zack Wheeler from absorbing a tough loss and saved some embarrassment for Daniel Murphy, whose second fielding error of the game let the Brewers score first.
After Wheeler walked Weeks to start the bottom of the sixth, Murphy let Ryan Braun’s liner whistle through his legs. Weeks took third on the error and scored on a fielder’s choice by Aramis Ramirez. Wheeler had a chance to keep the game scoreless with a double play on Ramirez’s grounder to short, but it didn’t happen. Ruben Tejada fielded the ball cleanly and flipped it to Murphy, but his throw to first was late.
Manager Terry Collins pulled Wheeler with two outs in the seventh. Gomez had crushed Wheeler's first pitch for his 15th home run of the year and a 2-0 lead. Weeks followed and drove Wheeler’s 108th pitch to the wall in center for a double that ended the right-hander’s night.
It was just the 10th home run allowed in the past 28 starts, dating to August 2013, for Wheeler. He struck out nine, one off his season high, walked two and took no consolation that the first run was unearned.
Wheeler came in 2-0 over his past four starts and allowed one run over six innings at San Diego on Sunday. But the right-hander picked up his seventh no-decision of the season when he failed to get any run support in the 2-1 loss to the Padres.
With one out in the fifth, Martin Maldonado reached on second baseman Murphy’s fielding error. Maldonado hit a rocket that skipped between Murphy’s legs. Wheeler calmly struck out Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo and then retired Gomez on a roller to third.
Wheeler had pitched well away from Citi Field, going 2-1 with a 1.66 ERA in his previous six outings. In his only career start at Miller Park, he gave up three runs -- one earned -- over five innings in a 12-5 win on July 5, 2013.
The Mets looked like they had something going against Gallardo in the top of the fourth but ended up with a runner stranded at third when Bobby Abreu struck out swinging for the second time. Murphy and David Wright had back-to-back singles. A fielder’s choice advanced Murphy to third, but he got no further.
For the second consecutive game, Collins asked for a review of a close play. This time, he succeeded. After a quick study, the third-out call was reversed and pinch hitter Eric Campbell was deemed safe at first. Will Smith relieved Gallardo and struck out Curtis Granderson.
Ouch!: Wheeler hit two more batters, extending his team-leading total to nine.
Tejada resilient: Tejada showed no effects from being beaned Wednesday in Seattle. The shortstop seemed comfortable at the plate despite going 0-for-4 and turned all seven chances into outs.
Hitting machine: Murphy, who came in batting .278 and fourth in the NL with 118 hits, improved both stats with a single in the first and third and finished the game with a .289 batting average.
Oops: Wheeler took a tumble in the bottom of the first while covering first base on Gomez’s grounder to second. Duda broke toward the ball but then backed off. Wheeler alertly ran to cover first but tumbled awkwardly as he reached the bag and missed Murphy’s throw.
What’s next: Left-hander Jonathon Niese (5-5, 3.13 ERA) faces right-hander Wily Peralta (11-6, 3.58) on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. in the third of the four-game series.