NEW YORK -- Their superlative start to the season in jeopardy, the Brewers shuffled out of Citi Field late Tuesday night hefting the weight of seven losses in their last nine games. For the better part of a fortnight, they were mortal.
Then they engineered the exact turnaround they needed, riding Chase Anderson's seven shutout innings in Thursday's series finale to a 2-1 win over the Mets, their second straight. The Brewers flew home in first place in the National League Central, primed for a seven-game homestand against the Dodgers and Giants.
Suffering no hangover effect from his no-hit bid last time out against the D-backs, Anderson held the Mets to three hits and a walk in seven innings, striking out seven. The top half of New York's lineup -- Michael Conforto, Jose Reyes, Jay Bruce and Neil Walker -- finished 0-for-12 against Anderson, struggling in particular against his sinker and signature changeup.
"I was able to mix it up," said Anderson, who used his cutter and curveball effectively to complement his fastball and changeup. "I think it's harder for hitters when you're able to mix your pitches up and still throw strikes."
Milwaukee's first bit of offense came in the third inning, when Hernan Perez doubled home Nick Franklin. The Brewers added another run in the fourth against Mets starter Zack Wheeler, who fell to 3-3 despite a 3.72 ERA.
They would need the insurance. Wilmer Flores greeted reliever Jacob Barnes with a leadoff homer in the eighth inning, before Corey Knebel nailed down the ninth to thwart the Mets' comeback attempt.
"We're a good team here," Wheeler said. "It's still somewhat early. I think we can come around. Once our starting pitchers really get rolling and our bats heat up, we can be one of the best teams in baseball."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Chase's escape: Anderson fell into some trouble when Lucas Duda beat the shift with a single in the second inning, and Curtis Granderson walked. With two outs, Travis d'Arnaud ripped a single down the left-field line at 107 mph, according to Statcast™, giving Franklin plenty of time to corral it and rip a throw home, beating Duda to the plate by several steps. Anderson proceeded to retire 15 of the next 16 batters he faced. More >
Watch out!: The Brewers' best chance to break things open occurred in the fourth inning, when they loaded the bases with one out in a two-run game. Eric Sogard followed with a pop fly near the Brewers' dugout, where a batboy collided with Flores as he attempted to catch it. Umpires initially ruled Sogard out via interference, then huddled and changed their call. The reversal incensed Mets manager Terry Collins, whom crew chief Fieldin Culbreth ejected.
"Fieldin did the right thing getting [the crew] together," Collins said. "My issue is it's a routine catch. It would be one thing if it's a difficult play. That was my argument."
"Ball don't lie." -- Flores, on the Mets inducing a double play moments after the batboy's interference
"It's fun to be on the Brewers right now. We're playing good. Such a young team, the guys in this clubhouse, they always got your back." -- Anderson, on team chemistry
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Knebel recorded two strikeouts in the ninth to extend his season-opening streak of appearances with at least one strikeout to 27. That's third-longest in history by a reliever in MLB's modern era, trailing only Aroldis Chapman, who went 37 straight games in 2014 and 29 straight in 2012.
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers: The Brewers will head back home for a seven-game homestand, starting with a three-game set with the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.37 ERA) will be waiting for them, and Jimmy Nelson (3-3, 3.83 ERA) starts for Milwaukee in the 7:10 p.m. CT series opener.
Mets: A three-game rematch with the Pirates looms this weekend at Citi Field, with Matt Harvey (4-3, 4.95 ERA) scheduled to start Friday's 7:10 p.m. ET opener. The Mets took two of three in Pittsburgh last weekend, including a Sunday finale that featured Harvey's best start of the season.