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Mets rough up Brewers bullpen in 10-4 win

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COLIN FLY
May 31, 2010
— The Mets' biggest hit in their best offensive effort of the season just barely reached the outfield.

Luis Castillo's two-run single snapped an untimely skid, Angel Pagan homered and R.A. Dickey's knuckleball danced for seven innings to help the New York Mets avoid a sweep with a 10-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.


"The game was tight. I wanted to get a hit in that moment," Castillo said of his well-placed, two-out grounder that gave the Mets a 4-2 lead in the sixth. "I looked to get a hit. I wanted to get a couple in."


He did just that, and it sparked an offensive tear by the Mets, who beat up reliever Jeff Suppan (0-2) and Milwaukee's shaky bullpen on the way to matching season highs of 10 runs and 16 hits.


The Mets (26-25) improved to 4-12 in May away from Citi Field and avoided dropping under .500 again after a promising five-game winning streak against the Yankees and Phillies stopped abruptly on Friday night in Milwaukee.


"To be honest with you, this is not a place where you want to come and get swept up here after the homestand we had," Mets right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. "Now, we want to go to San Diego and get two out of three. If we can do that, 3-3 is not the worst road trip."


Brewers manager Ken Macha said Castillo came into the at-bat 3 for 16 in his career against Suppan. The dribbler wasn't much, but it snapped a seven at-bat hitless streak for Mets with the bases loaded.


"It is frustrating," said Suppan, in the last year of a $42 million, four-year contract. "I take a lot of steps forward and a game like this, a situation where it's my job to keep it close I wasn't able to do it."


Pagan hit his two-run homer in the seventh and New York added four more runs in the ninth.


Rickie Weeks homered twice for the Brewers, who finished the homestand 4-2.


"It was a good homestand, a little bit of a downer-note game," Macha said. "They were pretty hot and we played a couple good ballgames."


Except the last one.


The 35-year-old Dickey (2-0) was solid again in seven innings, his longest of three starts this season. His only trouble came from Weeks, who hit a leadoff homer and added a two-run shot in the seventh that cut the lead to 6-4. Weeks said he hit the knuckleball each time, but couldn't say how he did it.


"Today was a day about survival," Dickey said. "I just tried to miss some barrels. Rickie squared a couple off, but outside that I feel like they just hit pieces of it."


After career saves leader Trevor Hoffman pitched a perfect eighth for the Brewers, New York scored four more in the ninth off rookie reliever Zach Braddock.


Trailing 2-1, Dickey also helped himself at the plate in the fourth with his first-career RBI on a single against Brewers starter Randy Wolf, whose miserable May finished with a flop as the Brewers remained the majors' worst home team at 8-16 in Miller Park.


Wolf was 2-3 with a 5.50 ERA in six starts in May and walked five Mets in five innings.


Still, he avoided major damage because New York failed to get the big hit off of him. With the bases loaded in the first, Wolf allowed only a sacrifice fly to David Wright despite two walks in the inning.


Wolf also walked the bases loaded in the third but escaped unscathed.


The Mets were batting .188 with the bases loaded before Castillo stepped to the plate in the sixth. Suppan allowed consecutive one-out singles to Francoeur and Henry Blanco before Dickey's sacrifice bunt. Jose Reyes, who has an eight-game hitting streak, was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Castillo came through.


"That was huge for us," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "We had some good offensive things happen."


Suppan's role moving forward is unclear. The Brewers haven't wanted to cut him and owe him the rest of his salary, which includes a $2 million buyout, but he's struggled since being removed from the rotation after two starts.


"There's going to be situations pop up where you have that last guy in the bullpen," Macha said. "He's going to have to do it."


NOTES: Wright tied Mike Piazza for sixth on the Mets' career hits list with 1,028. ... Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez finished in a non-save situation. ... Weeks led off a game with a homer for the 15th time in his career. ... Manuel says there's no role for ineffective LHP Oliver Perez beyond mopup relief. Perez gave up three runs in two innings Saturday night. The organization asked Perez to take a minor-league assignment to work out his struggles, which he declined. Manuel says talks to change his mind are an "ongoing process."



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