Mets 4 Brewers 2
It looked like it was going to be a quick, long day for the Mets.
Quick, because Milwaukee starter Ben Sheets was dispatching with Mets hitters as quickly as they could get their feet settled in the batter’s box. Sheets shut out the Mets through the first five frames, allowing only two hits and a walk and expending only 58 minutes and 54 pitches in the process. Meantime, Mets ace Johan Santana wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t great, either, allowing a baserunner in each of the six innings he hurled. He left the game with a 2-0 deficit.
However, the Mets caught a break: Sheets was forced to leave the game with a groin injury, leaving his slight advantage in the hands of the beleaguered Brewer bullpen. You think the Mets have relief problems? One afternoon of watching the malcontents in the Milwaukee ‘pen is enough to make you feel fortunate to have the likes of Aaron Heilman, Duaner Sanchez, et al, on your side.
The Mets immediately attacked reliever Carlos Villanueva, but came up short in their sixth inning rally. It was a warmup for the seventh, when Carlos Beltran started things off with a double against reliever Brian Shouse and moved to third on a groundout by Damion Easley. Reliever David Riske then came in to walk Marlon Anderson and Fernando Tatis to load the bases. Mitch Stetter was then summoned and he retired Jose Reyes to end the inning, but not before uncorking a wild pitch to plate Beltran.
With the score 2-1, Eric Gagne came in to “set up” the eighth. What he did set up, in fact, was another Mets rally as Daniel Murphy led off with a double. Gagne got two strikes on Carlos Delgado, but Delgado then ripped a high fastball into the right field seats to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Gagne remained in the game and let up a single to Beltran and a double to Ryan Church to close out the scoring.
In contrast, the Mets bullpen was spectacular. Nelson Figueroa spun a scoreless seventh to earn the win, and specialists Pedro Feliciano and Joe Smith handled the eighth, setting up the save for Luis Ayala, who pitched a perfect ninth.
Two-for-four days were had by Jose Reyes, Dan Murphy, and the two Carloses. David Wright looked wrong, going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and stranding four runners.
Rookie Jonathan Niese makes his Major League debut on Tuesday night, starting against Manny Parra. Game time is 8:05 pm EST.