MILWAUKEE -- In the scorebook, it went down as a fielder's choice. For those watching, it served as a moment of confusion. And in the end, it led to a 2-1 win in 11 innings for the Mets over the Brewers on Friday night at Miller Park.
With the bases loaded and one out against Brewers reliever Blaine Boyer, Matt Reynolds laced a line drive up the middle toward shortstop Jonathan Villar. Villar would have had a chance to double up Wilmer Flores at second base, but could not field the ball cleanly. Scooter Gennett then made the force at second as nearly everybody on the field froze. Amid the momentary chaos, Asdrubal Cabrera darted home with what would be the winning run.
"I was really close [to the base]," Cabrera said. "As soon as he hit the ball, my first step was back to the base. I don't want to get doubled up in that situation. Once I saw he dropped it, I put my head down and ran hard."
Mets closer Jeurys Familia struck out two and picked up his 21st save with a perfect 11th inning to seal the deal.
"I've seen a lot of Major League Baseball games," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "That might be one of the wildest I've been involved in."
Starters Matt Harvey and Junior Guerra turned the contest into a pitchers' duel early on, exchanging zeros until the Brewers struck first in the fifth inning. Yoenis Cespedes made sure that lead did not last long, leading off the sixth with a 433-foot homer off Guerra -- his first in 15 games. Harvey struck out eight and allowed one run on two hits in six innings, while Guerra gave up one run on five hits while striking out a season-low two in 6 2/3 innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Great escapes: Both teams squandered golden scoring opportunities in the ninth inning. Milwaukee's Jeremy Jeffress loaded the bases with nobody out, but worked his way out of the mess. Gennett made a great over-the-shoulder catch on a weak Kevin Plawecki pop fly, then Jeffress struck out pinch-hitter Neil Walker and got Curtis Granderson to roll over to second to escape the jam. Milwaukee then had the winning run at third with one out in the bottom half after pinch-runner Keon Broxton stole second and went to third on a throwing error by the catcher Plawecki. Jim Henderson, the former Brewers closer, stranded the potential winning run by striking out Kirk Nieuwenhuis and getting Aaron Hill to ground out. Henderson left the game in the 10th inning after bending back the fingernail on his right middle finger.
"We had three hits all night, so we obviously didn't have many opportunities," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "The big opportunity off Henderson was caused by walks, but we weren't able to take advantage of it."
Captain Kirk: Nieuwenhuis went airborne to preserve a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh inning. In his first game with the Mets, Kelly Johnson turned on a Guerra fastball, crushing it to deep center field. Nieuwenhuis covered 83.8 feet with a route efficiency of 97 percent, according to Statcast™, and made a leaping grab that appeared to take away a homer.
"It was a very good catch," Guerra said. "It saved a run, and it's part of the game. We back each other up. He saved me on that one."
Turning it around: The Harvey of old has returned, as he allowed just four baserunners in his first career start against the Brewers. The only hit that left the infield against him was a triple by Nieuwenhuis in the fifth inning, which led to a run on Ramon Flores' sac fly. Harvey has a 0.90 ERA (two earned runs in 20 innings) over his last three starts.
"I feel much better," Harvey said. "You obviously put two together and you want to continue doing everything you can to stay with what you've been working on. It is definitely positive to put a couple together and really start feeling good." More >
"Overall, that play just [stunk]. I don't know how else to put it, other than it was kind of confusing. Something that might happen once every couple years." -- Gennett, on the game-winning fielder's choice
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Cespedes' double off Tyler Thornburg in the eighth inning snapped a streak of 26 batters retired by the Brewers reliever. It was the longest such streak for a reliever in team history and just two shy of Jaime Navarro's record of 28, set in 1992.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Collins successfully challenged a play at the plate in the bottom of the third inning. Hill was initially ruled safe by home-plate umpire Larry Vanover on an infield single by Villar. The call was overturned after a review of three minutes and one second. Counsell then approached Vanover, which initiated a crew chief challenge to determine if Plawecki had blocked the plate. The call was upheld. In total, the game was delayed five minutes and 50 seconds.
Flores, representing the winning run for the Brewers, was called out at third base attempting to advance on a wild pitch in the 10th inning. A crew chief review confirmed that Flores beat Plawecki's throw to third, but he slid past the base and was tagged out by Reynolds.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: Reliever Logan Verrett will make a spot start on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. ET. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA in three starts this season, and allowed seven runs over 2 2/3 innings to Colorado on May 14.
Brewers: Milwaukee will send Wily Peralta to the mound at 3:10 p.m. CT on Saturday. Peralta scuffled through his most recent start, in Philadelphia, going 4 1/3 innings and giving up five earned runs. Out of his 12 starts this season, only two have been quality.