MILWAUKEE -- It was the Brewers' bats to the rescue for Chase Anderson on Saturday.Anderson surrendered three runs in a 42-pitch marathon of a first inning, and the Brewers answered right back with three in the bottom half. Anderson was bit by season-long trouble with the home run leading off
MILWAUKEE -- It was the Brewers' bats to the rescue for Chase Anderson on Saturday.
Anderson surrendered three runs in a 42-pitch marathon of a first inning, and the Brewers answered right back with three in the bottom half. Anderson was bit by season-long trouble with the home run leading off each of the next two innings, and the Brewers answered again. And again. And again.
They kept answering, all the way to their highest run total in eight years in a 17-6 win at Miller Park.
By the time third-base coach Ed Sedar stopped waving runners home, the Brewers were 13 games over .500 for the first time this season at a National League-best 33-20. It was their fifth victory in six games on the current homestand and 12th in their last 16 games overall.
"We were relentless on offense today," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who was playing for the team the last time it scored as much in a game -- an 18-1 win at Wrigley Field in August 2010. "There were tough at-bats all the way through."
Christian Yelich gave the Brewers their first lead with a run-scoring triple in the fourth inning and finished a home run shy of the cycle. Lorenzo Cain reached five times, while Yelich, Jesus Aguilar and Hernan Perez drove in three runs apiece and Erik Kratz homered in his Brewers debut. Milwaukee tallied a season-high 19 hits at the expense of Mets starter Jason Vargas and four relievers.
Those hitters had company. Nine players scored at least once and drove in at least one run, a franchise record. Milwaukee surpassed its season high for runs and hits during a game-breaking seven-run seventh inning.
All those runs helped wash away a troubling start for Anderson, the latest Brewers pitcher to encounter struggles in the wake of an Opening Day start.
"It was early," said Yelich. "We hadn't even come to bat yet. The way we feel as a team right now, it was just chip away. We didn't necessarily think we had to get all three back there in the first, but chip away, and we felt that as the game unfolded, we would be able to be in it at the end."
Said Mets left-hander Vargas: "They weren't ready to lay down at all. They were ready to come right back. I didn't think I made many bad pitches."
Anderson, meanwhile, cited a mechanical issue he described as fixable to explain his 80-pitch, three-inning slog. His long first inning was filled mostly with close misses and soft hits, but the ensuing home runs in the second and third are a problem -- Anderson has allowed 13 this season in 55 innings on the way to a 4.42 ERA. The right-hander was removed after 3 2/3 innings, having allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks.
During his breakthrough in 2017, Anderson allowed 14 home runs in 141 1/3 innings with a 2.74 ERA, and he was rewarded in the offseason with a contract extension.
"I was battling a couple of [mechanical] issues with the 'break' in my hands. I couldn't get on top of pitches," Anderson said. "I'll get it right. I'm not really worried about it."
Of the Brewers' offense, Anderson said, "It's dangerous. Shoot, if we can continue just to score three, four, five runs a game, I know this pitching staff can give our team a chance to win."
On Saturday, they scored a lot more than that.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Brand new ballgame: The Mets had a 3-0 lead before many of the 37,258 fans had found their seats, but Yelich and Braun took walks from Vargas in the bottom of the first inning before the Brewers evened the score through Travis Shaw's RBI single and Perez's two-run double.
"It was ballgame for us from then on, really," said Counsell. "The fact that we got right back in it, you felt like you made it a game."
First impression: Kratz, acquired from the Yankees on Friday for future considerations, became the 27th player to homer in his Brewers debut. His first Major League home run since 2016 came with two outs in the fifth inning and Milwaukee leading by a single run. After Kratz extended the frame, it turned into a three-run inning.
"I'm sure the game didn't start off the way he wanted to, either, trying to get Chase through that first inning," Counsell said. "The home run, that was a big spot. Two outs, nobody on, nothing going on. We go from zero to a three-spot right there pretty fast."
Kratz, at 37 years, 345 days old, became the most "seasoned" Brewers player since the final game of Counsell's playing career. Counsell was 41 years, 38 days old for his final regular-season game in September 2011.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Brewers reliever Dan Jennings had an eventful fifth inning. With a runner aboard and one out, he started Mets first baseman Adrian Gonzalez with a 69-mph fastball for a called strike. Gonzalez appeared as if he couldn't believe it.
"Somebody yelled, 'Step off!' I think the runner was dancing off [first base]," Jennings said. "It was right as I was lifting my leg, so rather than balk, I decided I would rather take a 1-0 count. It didn't really work out that way.
"[The strike] was a total accident. I tried not to laugh, and I looked back at [shortstop Tyler] Saladino and he was cracking up so hard. I was like, 'Can't we at least act like I meant to do that?'"
Then, in the bottom of the inning, he singled for his second hit this season in three at-bats. Jennings was a good hitter in high school in Des Moines, Iowa, "but that was a long time ago," he said. He wound up scoring on Yelich's two-run double.
"You have to give 'Murph' credit on that one," said Jennings, referring to bench coach Pat Murphy. "He goes, 'If [Kratz] hits a homer, you're hitting. Not two seconds later, he hit a homer. Otherwise, [pinch-hitter Domingo Santana] was going up. … Cain was mad at me because I took his bat to the plate. I didn't expect to hit."
HE SAID IT
"Maybe. I mean, it's rare when you're in those opportunities. It's so hard to do. A lot of things have to go right to be even in that position, and a lot of guys were having fun with it on the bench, for sure." -- Yelich, asked whether he was thinking about the cycle during his final at-bat in the seventh that saw him ground out after a few big hacks
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Amid the Brewers' big rally in the seventh inning, Perez was initially called out at first base after Jose Reyes bobbled his ground ball, but it required only 25 seconds to overturn that call. Milwaukee made the most of that out, using it to score the final three of their seven runs in the frame.
In Jhoulys Chacin, the Brewers will send their most consistent starting pitcher to the mound for the start of Sunday's 1:10 p.m. CT series finale against the Mets. Chacin is 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA over his last eight starts, and the team is 8-3 this season when he takes the mound. He'll work opposite Mets starter Zack Wheeler, the right-hander who nearly became a Brewer in July 2015 before Mets officials nixed the teams' trade.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.