WP: Chase Anderson (4-1) LP: Zack Wheeler (3-3) Save: Corey Knebel (4) Homeruns: Mil. - none; NYM - Wilmer Flores (4)
The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the New York Mets 2-1 at Citi Field to snatch back a split in the four game series that saw them lose the first two games. Brewers’ starter Chase Anderson outdueled the Mets Zack Wheeler, and the Brewers pushed across just enough runs to win. Once again, the Brewers left way too many runners on base (9). But their defense was solid, despite starting two infielders in the outfield, and Anderson has his second scoreless start in a row.
Anderson was every bit as dominant as in his last start against the Arizona Diamondbacks, working seven shutout innings on three singles, one walk, and seven strikeouts (five looking). His control was tremendous, and he used his changeup at any count, keeping it down and the Mets totally off balance.
Two of the hits and the walk came in the bottom of the second, but the Mets failed to score when Nick Franklin, surprise starter in leftfield, threw out Lucas Duda trying to score on a base hit from Travis d’Arnaud. Franklin was playing deep, but his throw from medium left carried all the way to home on the fly and easily beat the slow-footed Duda for the final out of the inning.
Chase retired the last ten batters he faced, striking out three, including the last two. He now has fourteen consecutive scoreless innings.
The Brewers had ten hits, a walk, and defensive bloopers from the Mets through seven innings today...but only two runs. They rolled into double plays in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, and Michael Conforto made diving catch in the middle of four singles, all of which limited the damage for Wheeler, who was relieved by Jerry Blevins in the seventh.
The Mets’ two defensive bloopers came in that fourth inning. After a single from Domingo Santana, Conforto made his catch on a liner from Jett Bandy. Jonathan Villar singled up the middle, sending Santana to third. Franklin drove in the Brewers’ second run with a single, bringing up Anderson in a sacrifice situation. Chase is not a good bunter, and popped it up; Mets’ catcher Travis d’Arnaud let it drop and inexplicably didn’t take a sure out at second, as Franklin had headed back to first. d’Arnaud’s throw to first was late, and the bases were filled with just one out.
That brought up the red-hot Eric Sogard, but he popped a foul just in front of the New York dugout. Third baseman Wilmer Flores had a bead on it, but the batboy ran into him...or he ran into the batboy...or they ran into each other. The ball fell harmlessly. Home plate umpire Roberto Ortiz called Sogard out on interference, but he was over-ruled by crew chief Fieldin Culbreth as unintentional interference by on-field personnel is not an automatic out-causing occurrence. Unfortunately, Sogard then grounded into the first of the three double plays, ending the inning.
Milwaukee’s first run also involved Franklin. He walked leading off the bottom of the third, and remained at first as Anderson failed to get a bunt down and struck out swinging. Sogard singled Franklin to second, and Eric Thames flew out to shallow left for out number two. Hernan Perez doubled down the rightfield line to drive in Franklin, giving the Brewers a 1-0 lead.
Anderson also failed to bunt successfully in the top of the seventh, popping out to the pitcher with Franklin on first and none out. Poor bunting can be forgiven with shutout pitching. It seems like such a correctable flaw, though.
The top of the eighth saw the Brewers’ first two hitters reach against Blevins on a bunt single from Perez (his third hit) and a walk to Travis Shaw. Fernando Salas relieved, and struck out Santana and Bandy, with a wild pitch moving both runners up while Bandy was at the plate. Villar was intentionally walked, and Keon Broxton struck out to end the threat.
Jacob Barnes took the hill for the bottom half of inning number eight, and New York celebrated the departure of Anderson with a first pitch homerun from Wilmer Flores. Barnes recovered to retire the next three, and the Brewers led 2-1 into the ninth.
Milwaukee went 1-2-3 in the ninth against Salas, and Orlando Arcia struck out in his only at bat of the game, ending his eleven game hitting streak. Arcia had entered the game in the eighth as a defensive replacement at short for Sogard.
Corey Knebel notched his fourth save, striking out two (Knebel has at least one strikeout in each of his 27 appearances this season) and walking one.
Milwaukee (29-25) returns home to face the Los Angeles Dodgers (33-22), at or near first place in the NL West (the best division in the National League) pending the outcome of the Rockies’ and Diamondbacks’ games. Los Angeles fell to the Cardinals 2-0 this afternoon. The Brewers will face one of baseball’s best pitchers in Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.37). Milwaukee counters with Jimmy Nelson (3-3, 3.83), and they lead the idle Cubs by three games and the Cardinals by 1½.