Tue. Final: Brewers 6, Mets 3
By Todd Welter
Next game: Wednesday, July 1st vs. New York Mets
Mike Burns thought he got at least a 100 beers poured on him after the game in the Brewers' clubhouse. That may have been a slight exaggeration but he can be excused for that considering he picked up his first career Major League victory as the Brewers topped the New York Mets 6-3 at Miller Park.
Ryan Braun drove in four runs and the top of the order provided plenty of offense to back up Burns in his quest for his first victory.
First career Major League victories are always special but Burns' was unique. He outperformed one of the best pitchers in the game in Johan Santana. Plus, Burns gave the Brewers a desperately needed innings eating start.
"Burns was pretty darn good tonight," Brewers manager Ken Macha thought. "It is especially impressive going up against Johan Santana."
Burns (1-1) made just his second career start for the Brewers and gave up two runs over 6.2-innings. Burns allowed five hits, walked one and struck out two. He made two mistakes when he walked the leadoff hitter to start the game and an out later he gave up a two-run home run to David Wright. Burns settled down from there as he kept the Mets scoreless the rest of his night.
Burns went on to retire 19 of the last 23 batters he faced after Wright's fifth home run of the season. Burns evened helped his own cause by scoring a run in the fourth.
"Sooner or later, I will figure out how to throw strikes to the first batter of the game," Burns joked. "Once I gave up the two-run home run, it was one of those things [where] I got to keep them right there for us to have a chance."
The only jam Burns could not escape was the time honored clubhouse tradition of the beer shower after the game given to a pitcher who has won his first career Major League victory.
"As soon as I got in, they called me over and it felt like a 100 beers all over my head," Burns described. "It was neat."
Santana was not his typical two-time Cy Young Award winning self on the mound. The lefty had trouble finding the strike zone or at least home plate umpire Jim Wolf was making it hard for Santana to find it. That might have been what Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen must have thought as he was ejected in the fourth inning for arguing with Warthen during a pitching mound visit.
Santana was roughed up for six runs--only five were earned-during six-plus innings of work. Braun, Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy, and Prince Fielder led a Brewers offensive charge that produced nine hits off Santana. Braun went 3-for-4 with a double, two singles and a run off Santana. Hart had three hits and scored two runs. Fielder went 2-for-4 and hit his 20th home run of the season while Hardy reached base twice with a single and a walk.
Braun picked up his first RBI of the night off Santana with a single in the third that scored Hart. Braun would get three more RBIs and put the Brewers ahead for good with a bases clearing double in the fourth. Braun made a heads up play as he went to third on the throw to home and he scored courtesy of Santana's throwing error. Santana tried to get Braun at third as Santana was backing up the throw to home. Instead, Santana flung the ball into left field.
"Sometimes when you face a great pitcher like that, you need a break or two," Braun explained.
Braun continued his success against Santana as he has seven career hits in 13 career at-bats. Braun really could not explain why he has had good fortune against Johan.
"It is nearly impossible. I doubt there are too many guys who have had any type of prolonged success against him."
Fielder knocked Santana out of the game with a solo blast to right to lead off the seventh.
"No matter how good you are, one of these outings can happen but he is also going up against one of the best lineups in baseball," Burns commented on Santana's struggles.
It was that type of night for Santana (9-6) as he has four losses in his last six starts and the fourth time this season he yielded five or more runs.
The Mets added another run in the ninth on Fernando Martinez' solo shot to right off Todd Coffey. The Mets (37-39) have now lost five straight while the Brewers (42-35) have won four of their last five.