Mon. Final: Brewers 10, Mets 6
By Todd Welter
Next game: Tuesday, June 30th vs. New York Mets
It was a night of redemption for Casey McGehee and J.J. Hardy.
Hardy went 4-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, a single and a walk and McGehee hit a grand slam in the sixth that helped seal up a 10-6 Brewers victory over the New York Mets at Miller Park.
Hardy is certainly redeeming himself lately after starting the season in a slump that saw his average dip to .215 at one point. Over his last 12 games, Hardy is hitting .348 with three home runs and 7RBI. Hardy is getting his fill of home cooking as he is 11-for-29 during this homestand. What makes Hardy even more poised for a big breakout is those hits came before Hardy was starting to feel completely confident at the plate.
"Tonight was the first night that I actually felt good," Hardy described.
McGehee needed redemption when his sixth-inning fielding error allowed the Mets to score their first two runs of the game which cut the Brewers lead to a run. McGehee had an easy play on Fernando Martinez' pop fly that should have ended the inning. Instead, McGehee had a little bit of a mental lapse and dropped the ball. Brian Schneider capitalized on the mistake when he ripped a two-run double.
"You play long enough, you are going to have those what are you doing moments," McGehee explained.
McGehee made up for that mistake when he smashed his first career grand slam to left-center field off reliever Brandon Stokes that put the Brewers ahead 7-2.
"A grand slam, a little bit of redemption after the pop up," Brewers manager Ken Macha commented. "It's going to give you an indication what kind of player he is. After he hit the grand slam, I don't know if he really wanted to go out there for a curtain call. The he came over and stuck his helmet in the pigeon hole and said I got to catch that pop up. He was still upset with himself."
He went from hanging his head after the top of the inning to getting a curtain call from the Miller Park crowd when the inning was done. Eventually, he was able to overcome his anger and enjoy the moment.
"How often do you get a chance to hit grand slams?" McGehee pondered. "I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot. I didn't really know what was going on. It was one of those things that Prince [Fielder] had to tell me to get out there."
It is starting to sound like a broken record but McGehee continues to swing a hot piece of lumber. McGehee is hitting .366 in his last 29 games along with five home runs and 20RBI.
Also finding redemption was Brewers starter Braden Looper (6-4) as he won for the first time this month. Looper has not had an easy June. In his previous five outings, Looper was 0-1 with a 7.18 ERA. He looked pretty crisp in 6.1-innings of work. Looper gave up two runs--both were unearned--seven hits, walked two and struck out two.
"It was a nice job by Looper," Macha said. "It was a good outing."
Looper even helped his own cause with a RBI single in the fourth.
Even Bill Hall--who was hitting .199 coming into the contest--brought himself back into the light as he went 2-for-2 with a double, a single and 2RBI as a late inning sub.
Mets starter Fernando Nieve was not very effective on the mound. His final line says that he gave up only three runs. That was about the only positive stat he had. Nieve (3-1) only lasted 3.1-innings as he gave up 11 hits and lost for the first time this season.
The Brewers' bats produced 19 hits off five Mets pitchers. The scoring started in the second when Jason Kendall drove in Mike Cameron with a single. Kendall was another Brewers offensive star as he finished 3-for-3 with a run and a walk.
Hardy added another run in the third with his eighth homer of the season.
The Mets scored their third run in the seventh which the Brewers countered in the bottom of the frame. The Brewers picked up two more runs in the eighth.
Things got a little uncomfortable in the ninth as the Mets rattled off three runs courtesy of Gary Sheffield's three-run blast off Carlos Villanueva. Trevor Hoffman came in and threw one pitch to get a game-ending double play to pick up his 18th save of the season.
The Mets (37-38) drop a game below .500 with the loss. The Brewers (41-35) are now sitting alone in first place again in the division thanks to the Cardinals losing 10-0 to the San Francisco Giants.