Gallardo struggles in loss to Mets
It was the Mets’ Jonathon Niese—not Gallardo—that looked like a staff ace as the New York Mets took two of three games against the best home team in the majors with a 4-1 victory over the Brewers on Thursday night.
“He was off,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “Fastball was OK the first couple innings, then he got away from it. Then he started missing with it up in the zone a lot.”
Milwaukee lost a home series for just the second time this year. The Brewers are 22-9 at Miller Park, but Gallardo (8-3) allowed 10 hits and didn’t get an out in the fifth.
Ruben Tejada’s two-out, run-scoring single in the second and Jason Pridie’s sacrifice fly in the fourth gave the Mets a 2-0 lead. Prince Fielder’s two-out double in the fourth drove in Ryan Braun for his 55th RBI, but the Mets came right back with two more runs in the fifth.
The first four batters singled for New York, including RBI hits by Daniel Murphy and Angel Pagan that chased Gallardo. It could’ve been more, but right fielder Corey Hart threw out Murphy at the plate after Josh Thole’s fly ball to end the inning.
“The ball was up. You can’t get away with throwing the ball up in the strike zone,” Gallardo said. “There were some pretty good pitches I thought were decent but they put the bat on them.”
Niese (5-5) pitched effectively into the eighth. He retired the first 11 Brewers hitters and only allowed an RBI double to Fielder in the fourth and singles in the seventh and eighth.
“Niese threw the ball really well. It was a combination of him throwing the ball well and us being unlucky. When you hit balls hard at people you’re not going to have a lot to show for it,” Braun said. “That’s baseball.”
The left-hander used his sweeping curveball and a cut fastball to keep the Brewers’ guessing. Carlos Gomez swung twice at the big breaking ball before watching a third for strike three to end the fifth.
Niese’s biggest trouble came in the seventh when Braun singled and Fielder walked with no outs.
But slumping Casey McGehee hit a fly to the warning track in right field, Yuniesky Betancourt fouled out after a running grab by the catcher Thole and Niese struck out Jonathan Lucroy looking.
“He didn’t waste any time. It was fastball, first strike. Fastball for a strike, curveball and we’re gone. He came right at us,” Roenicke said. “He threw a nice game.”
Niese got the first two outs in the eighth before leaving for Francisco Rodriguez after he walked Rickie Weeks and allowed a single to Hart. Braun lined out to end the threat.
Rodriguez worked around a Fielder double to start the ninth.
Now, the Brewers must quickly turn their attention to tonight’s matchup with the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals. Milwaukee could take the division lead with a sweep.
“It seemed like the last week, we were winning and they were winning every day. You don’t gain any ground,” Braun said. “There’s definitely added intensity and a little bit more adrenaline when you’re playing against the teams in your division that you know you’re competing with to get to where you want to be.”
-- Hart’s throw to the plate was his first outfield assist of the year and 27th of his career.
-- Eight of Fielder’s last nine hits have been for extra bases.
-- Casey McGehee committed two errors in the eighth. His 11 errors this season is tied with Baltimore’s Mark Reynolds for the most at that position.
Last updated: 5:41 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012