Mets can't hold onto early lead vs. Brewers
Offense has plenty of chances to score but is held to two runs
MILWAUKEE -- Putting runners on base in eight innings, the Mets' offense certainly created opportunities for itself in Saturday night's game. But the bats could not capitalize as the Mets stranded nine runners in a 5-2 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park.
The Mets went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and struck out 10 times as they were unable to take full advantage of a shaky start from the Brewers' Wily Peralta. A three-run Brewers rally in the fifth inning chased Jon Niese from the game and create a deficit the Mets would never recover from.
"[Peralta's] command was off for sure, but when you're throwing 97 or 98 mph, they're not easy to hit," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We got some guys in good situations, but we just couldn't mount anything."
After ending the first half on a hot streak, the Mets have scored 20 runs in the first nine games of the second half, an average of 2.2 runs per game.
"[Milwaukee] made some pretty good pitches," Collins said. "These guys have a nice lineup, but their pitching is very good. We just have to do a better job when you get a pitch to hit and doing some damage with it. They're certainly doing some damage when they get pitches to hit."
In one encouraging development for the Mets, the batter who did the most damage Saturday was Curtis Granderson, who snapped an 0-for-18 skid in the third inning with a double off the center-field wall. He came around to score on a single by Lucas Duda.
In the fifth, Granderson followed up with a line-drive home run down the right-field line, putting the Mets up 2-0.
But that would be all the offense the Mets would muster, and New York fell behind when the Brewers mounted a two-out rally in the fifth off Niese. Niese cruised through the game's first four innings before Mark Reynolds led off the fifth with a base hit. Jean Segura followed by reaching on a fielder's choice. He stole second and advanced to third on a flyout by Peralta.
It looked like Niese might escape the jam when he got two strikes on Carlos Gomez, but a wild pitch allowed Segura to score the Brewers' first run.
"That's what I talk about -- not always depending on the home run to get runs," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "That was Seggy doing a great job of running the bases. Whenever you are at third base, you don't ever know what is going to happen to get you that run. That was huge at the time."
"It was a curveball in the dirt. It got away. It happens," Niese said. "It wasn't [catcher] Travis [d'Arnaud's] fault. It took a bad hop, and that's the way it goes."
Niese then allowed three straight hits -- a bloop single by Gomez, a double off the wall by Jonathan Lucroy and a single by Ryan Braun -- to allow the Brewers to score two more runs and take a 3-2 lead.
When asked which pitch he'd most like to have back from that sequence, Niese said, "Just that Lucroy at-bat. I don't know, I just left him a fastball over the middle of the plate. If I had it over again, I'd have thrown something different, but that's in the past now."
Niese, who was in the No. 8 spot in Saturday's lineup, was lifted in the next inning for a pinch-hitter when there was a runner on third base, despite having only thrown 89 pitches.
"I thought I should've been out there anyway, despite if I was up eighth or ninth," Niese said. "Terry makes those decisions. Those are out of my control. I could've went one or two more."
"He certainly deserved to go back out, but we've been having a tough time scoring so I thought we had to hit for him in the sixth," Collins said.
It didn't pan out as Eric Campbell struck out to end the frame. The Brewers added two more runs off Carlos Torres, one on a Mark Reynolds home run in the sixth and one on a Khris Davis RBI double in the eighth.
With the loss, the Mets fell to 4-5 on their 10-game road trip to open the second half, which concludes with Sunday's series finale.