Mets' bullpen collapses as Brewers win 7-6
And when Collins was forced to call on his veteran reliever to try to get Milwaukee's Prince Fielder out in a critical situation, his instructions were clear: With a base open, there was no reason to give Fielder anything good to hit.
Neither plan worked out.
Isringhausen gave up a game-tying two-run homer to Fielder in the eighth inning. The Mets' bullpen collapse became complete in the ninth, when Dale Thayer surrendered a two-out RBI double to Nyjer Morgan to give the Brewers a 7-6 victory.
"I knew I had first base open, and as hot as he's been, I shouldn't give him anything to hit right there," Isringhausen said. "And that ball caught a lot of plate. A mistake on my part. Certainly coming into the game, Terry says, 'You've got a base open.' And that was the last thing I wanted to do was to leave one in the middle of the plate."
Fielder homered twice Wednesday to bring his season total to 17. But Collins liked the matchup, given Isringhausen's past success against Fielder.
"I thought Izzy's first two pitches were really good," Collins said. "Like I said, he's had really great success against him pitching, knows what to do. We told him, 'Hey, we've got an open base so let's not make a mistake.' And I don't know where the pitch was, but he got it."
Morgan's game-winner might prove even more painful to the Mets once they find out that he actually thought it was the eighth inning. Morgan was still laughing in the clubhouse afterward.
"Seriously, I honestly thought Prince put us up and I thought it was the bottom of the eighth," Morgan said. "I guess it worked out, and a good thing for us."
It was a rough loss for the Mets, who had rallied for five runs in the top of the eighth to take the lead — only to watch their bullpen blow it. It was a new low for a bullpen that has struggled, their largest blown lead of the season.
Mets starter Mike Pelfrey was receiving postgame treatment in the clubhouse when he heard a television call of Ronny Paulino's three-run homer in the eighth.
"I was like, 'You know, we're going to win this,'" Pelfrey said. "But it didn't work out."
Milwaukee's Craig Counsell singled with one out in the ninth off Thayer (0-1) and stole second when Rickie Weeks struck out. Morgan then hit a ball down the right-field line to end it and was mobbed at second base.
"It's something we've had to deal with so far this year," Collins said. "It's nothing new. We'll gather our thoughts, we'll come back tomorrow, get ourselves ready to play. Right now, there's an empty feeling because we thought we had that one pretty much wrapped up."
Collins did like the way his team fought back to take the lead in the top half of the eighth. Paulino hit a three-run homer for the Mets as part of a five-run eighth that made it 6-2.
"We didn't throw in the towel, which we have not done all year," Collins said. "And we never will."
NOTES: Collins said he's not worried about LF Jason Bay's lack of production. Bay came into Wednesday's game hitting .212 with two homers and 10 RBIs. ... It was Fielder's 21st multihomer game of his career. ... Paulino finished with four hits. ... Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to 12 games.