MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Nelson's pitching gem left the Brewers on the brink of their first series sweep of a challenging season.
Dealing the slumping Mets their seventh consecutive loss, Nelson surrendered only two hits and matched a career high by pitching eight innings of a 4-1 win Wednesday night at Miller Park, a needed lift after the 26-year-old set career highs for hits allowed in each of his two previous starts. Nelson retired the Mets in order in five of his eight innings, plus another frame in which he faced the minimum three batters thanks to a double play.
"He was just good all night," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "That's what gets you excited about him. He's been a little uneven this year, but he's still a young pitcher, and it was a great night for him to build on and to know what's in there."
Curtis Granderson accounted for the Mets' run with a home run off Nelson leading off the fourth inning, Granderson's second homer in as many nights. Scooter Gennett countered with a sixth-inning solo shot for the Brewers off Bartolo Colon, who pitched six innings and remained stuck at nine victories. Since winning 11 straight games from April 12-23, the Mets are tied with the Red Sox for the second-worst record in baseball.
"The confidence still remains high," Granderson said. "We understand the things that we are capable of and know that we're going to be able to do. We've just got to go ahead and right the wrong in the ship."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Quick strike: The Brewers had two runs on four hits against Colon before the big righty threw his 10th pitch or recorded his first out. Gerardo Parra, Jonathan Lucroy, Ryan Braun and Adam Lind collected consecutive hits to open the bottom of the first inning, with Braun's RBI single and Lind's RBI double providing an early lead. But Colon stopped the rally there, retiring the next three hitters to strand runners at second and third base.
Sputtering offense: Aside from Granderson's leadoff homer in the fourth inning, the Mets continued their woes at the plate. They went eight consecutive innings without a hit from the fourth inning Tuesday through the second inning Wednesday, never threatening to take the lead back from the Brewers.
Thirty-yard dash: It was a footrace between Braun and Colon with two outs in the fifth inning, with Braun beating Colon to first base by a half-step for an inning-extending infield hit. The Brewers turned it into an insurance run when Lind and Carlos Gomez followed with successive singles for a 3-1 lead.
"Braun's play, just hustling to first base got us a run." Counsell said. "That's a big play."
"I don't blame anybody. I've never done that. I never will. I'm not going to point any fingers. I write the lineup. It falls on my shoulders. It doesn't fall on anybody else's." -- Mets manager Terry Collins, when asked if the front office is to blame for not improving the offense
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The victory gave the Brewers just their second series win at home this season, the first coming in the first days of May when they took two out of three against the Cubs. They're now 2-8-2 in series play at home this season and will look for their first sweep on Thursday.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: New York will try to avoid an eight-game losing streak when it sends Jacob deGrom to the mound for a 2:10 p.m. ET finale at Miller Park. DeGrom was brilliant again last time out in Atlanta, but took a loss when Terry Collins removed him at 97 pitches with one out in the eighth and two inherited runs -- the only ones against him -- came around to score.
Brewers:Taylor Jungmann will make his fourth Major League start and second at home when he works Thursday's series finale beginning at 1:10 p.m. CT. Both of his victories have come on the road.