Starter limits damage after four-run second amid minimal run support
NEW YORK -- Dillon Gee needed seven innings to reach a mark that would represent his consistency. He entered Thursday's game with 193 innings pitched this season, one strong start shy of accomplishing a personal milestone. An arduous second frame, though, precluded Gee from picking up his 200th inning of the season.
Gee's early struggles cost him, and the Mets' offense could not pick him up in a 4-2 loss to the Brewers.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed," Gee said. "I wanted it for sure. It was a big goal. It would've been a nice milestone to hit for my career. "
He finished his final start having thrown 199 innings, about 39 more than the previous career high he set in 2011.
It was a tough game to swallow for Gee and the Mets, who experienced a scary situation in the third inning, when Brewers starter Johnny Hellweg hit David Wright on the left side of his helmet with an 86-mph changeup. Wright immediately went down to one knee, and trainer Ray Ramirez and manager Terry Collins ran out to tend to the Mets' captain.
Wright left the game for precautionary reasons, the Mets later said.
"I'm feeling fine," Wright said. "Just more precautionary; they didn't want me to stay in the game. I feel pretty good. I passed all the concussion tests. I went through that protocol. Everything seems like it's good."
It was an unsettling scene for both teams.
"It was a changeup, which they all knew that," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "But still, when you have one of their guys have to leave the game, it still bothers you."
New York's lineup missed Wright's bat, as it could not climb out of an early hole. Gee allowed four runs in the second inning, but he rarely faltered for the remainder of his outing. After surrendering a leadoff double to Jonathan Lucroy in the third, Gee retired the next nine batters he faced until Khris Davis led off the sixth with a single.
Collins pinch-hit Zach Lutz for Gee with two outs in the sixth inning. Gee allowed four runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts over six innings.
"I tried to stay in there," said Gee, who threw 89 pitches. "I obviously wanted to be in there. I never want to come out of the game. One inning away from something I really wanted, so definitely it was trying. It is what it is."
Aside from an RBI groundout by Daniel Murphy in the third and a reviewed solo home run by Josh Statin in the ninth, New York could not muster up enough offense against Hellweg and Milwaukee's bullpen to overcome its deficit.
Regardless, even having a chance to make a comeback reflects Gee's reliability for much of the season. Before Thursday's game, Mets manager Terry Collins lauded his 27-year-old pitcher. When the right-hander was on the mound, Collins said, the Mets knew they would be in the game with a chance to win.
Before Gee's May 30 start against the Yankees, which served as his turning point in the season, Gee was 2-6 with a 6.34 ERA. Ever since, he has had command of his entire repertoire. He has been a model of consistency.
"He should be very proud of the year he's had, because he's pitched very, very well and has kept us in about every game he's pitched in," Collins said. "Tonight, he just didn't have his normal stuff, and we didn't get him any runs to work with."
Immediately following the second inning Thursday, Gee did not look poised to pitch deep into the game. His pitch count was running high. The Brewers had built an early lead. But Gee battled, much like he battled following two difficult months to start the year.
After making 17 starts last season, Gee had surgery to replace part of a damaged artery in his right shoulder. He threw just 109 2/3 innings in 2012, adding to the significance of reaching the 200-inning mark in 2013.
Yet he stands at 199 innings pitched. It is a meaningful number considering all Gee has been through in the past year. It's just not 200.
"I worked extremely hard to come back and make every start this year," Gee said. "To fall one inning short is tough."
Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com.