MILWAUKEE -- Michael Conforto has settled in nicely at the leadoff spot for the Mets, but with Jay Bruce receiving Sunday afternoon off, he was the logical choice for manager Terry Collins to plug into the middle of the lineup.Beginning with a first-inning home run, Conforto completed the three extra-base-hit
MILWAUKEE -- Michael Conforto has settled in nicely at the leadoff spot for the Mets, but with Jay Bruce receiving Sunday afternoon off, he was the logical choice for manager Terry Collins to plug into the middle of the lineup.
Beginning with a first-inning home run, Conforto completed the three extra-base-hit requirements of the cycle in his first four plate appearances in New York's 11-9 loss to the Brewers.
Conforto received one last chance to become the first Mets player to hit for the cycle since Scott Hairston on April 27, 2012, but he popped out to shortstop to end the eighth inning, finishing 3-for-4 with four runs and three RBIs.
"Yeah, I knew," Conforto said. "I obviously was going for it. It didn't work out. I didn't get the easy one."
After Brewers starter Wily Peralta retired the first two batters he faced, Conforto connected for a 399-foot blast to the second deck at Miller Park to put the Mets on the board in the first inning.
Conforto walked and scored in the fourth then drove in two with a double as part of a four-run fifth inning that gave the Mets a 7-1 advantage. The Brewers pulled to within two runs, 8-6, in the seventh, but Conforto answered in the top of the eighth with a triple into the right-field corner and scored moments later on a Neil Walker single.
"I felt good today," Conforto said. "I got some pitches I could handle and made sure I didn't miss them."
The three-hit game raised Conforto's average to .343 on the season, to go along with nine home runs and 24 RBIs.
Conforto likely will return to the leadoff spot when Bruce returns Monday, but his early-season success gives Mets manager Terry Collins flexibility and an option to hit in the middle of the order.
"I try not to put too much into where I'm hitting in the lineup," said Conforto. "The situation can be different every time I come up there. I try to have the approach of using the whole field and getting pitches I can handle and not try to do too much with them."
Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Mets on Sunday.