NEW YORK -- Needing a victory to shove memories of Matt Harvey and this week's Nationals series firmly into the past, the Mets turned Friday to two of their budding stars. Steven Matz pitched seven sharp innings to win his sixth consecutive start, and Michael Conforto delivered the decisive two-run homer in a 3-2 triumph over the Brewers at Citi Field.
Making his first start since skipping an outing due to left elbow soreness, Matz fell into an early hole when Chris Carter hit a two-run homer off him in the first. But the left-hander retired 15 in a row after that, cruising through seven innings with eight strikeouts and no walks.
"We needed it bad," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We needed somebody to give us six innings and he gave us more than that. It was a tremendous outing."
By that time, Matz was back in control thanks to Conforto's opposite-field homer off Brewers starter Wily Peralta. The Mets had drawn within a run of the lead on Rene Rivera's RBI groundout in the second inning, but did not touch Peralta again until Conforto bashed a 95-mph fastball over the fence in the sixth.
Peralta, who had retired 10 straight batters from the third through fifth innings, could not escape the sixth. He fell to 2-5 on the season, despite actually improving his ERA to 6.99.
"I don't think the pitch to Conforto was a bad pitch," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It was down and away and it was just a nice job swinging the bat, I thought. Wily was certainly better today.
"He got some outs with his slider. I thought there was life to his fastball and I thought the pace that he worked at was really improved. There were definitely some positive signs there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Opposite field, opposite score: Conforto turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead with one swing of the bat in the sixth inning, launching a Peralta pitch over the wall in left. That plated Asdrubal Cabrera, who had singled to open the inning, and gave Conforto his second homer in four games.
"It was a ball that might have been off the plate, but having that approach and going the other way is something I'm really working on right now," Conforto said. "It's something I'm hoping will help me in the future." More >
Struggles resurface: Through five innings, Peralta rewarded the Brewers' confidence in him after they flirted with the decision to skip his turn in the rotation. Milwaukee's Opening Day starter allowed just one run on three hits and a walk in that span. In the sixth, however, the struggles that have plagued the right-hander returned and the Mets struck for two runs on three hits, a hit by pitch and a walk before Carlos Torres entered to end the frame. More >
Righting the ship: After Carter's homer, Matz turned unhittable. The left-hander retired the next 15 batters he faced, striking out four of five during one stretch. That was enough for him to stick around long enough to earn the win, moving to 10-1 in 13 career starts. Matz also became the first Met since R.A. Dickey in 2012 to win six consecutive starts.
"No walks, I didn't really get deep into any of the counts, that's something that I'm happy with," Matz said. "After a long layoff like that, skipping a start, that's just something that I really focused on: keeping sharp." More >
Carter crushes: With two away in the first, Carter got the Brewers on the board with a two-run home run. The first baseman's 13th homer of the season doubled his career hit total at Citi Field, as he entered Friday's contest with just one hit in nine at-bats in the Mets' home park.
"We're thinking of giving Harvey a shot tomorrow just for the heck of it. It seems to be working." -- Collins, joking, on the cortisone shot Matz received this week
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In retiring the side in order in the ninth to lock down his 14th save, Jeurys Familia not only stayed perfect in save chances for the season, but he also retired every batter he faced for the eighth time in his last 11 outings.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
When Hernan Perez singled with two outs in the sixth, it snapped Matz's streak of 15 outs. When Perez subsequently stole second base, the Brewers thought they had their first man in scoring position since the first inning. But Collins immediately challenged the ruling, and umpires determined that Neil Walker had slapped Perez with a tag before he reached second base.
Brewers: After posting an 8.78 ERA through his first three starts of the season, Zach Davies has turned things around for the Brewers and he'll look to continue that when he starts the second game of this series against the Mets at 3:10 p.m. CT on Saturday. Over his last three starts, the right-hander has a 3.12 ERA and has recorded his only two quality starts of the season.
Mets: Like Harvey, Jacob deGrom has struggled to find his usual form this season, though deGrom has battled through his issues to the tune of a 2.50 ERA. He'll look to keep that going in a 4:10 p.m. ET game against the Brewers.
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