Crew edges Mets with early and often offense

Crew edges Mets with early and often offense

MILWAUKEE -- For a moment in time, all was right in Brewers nation on Saturday.

On a day Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez were announced as National League All-Star reserves, Milwaukee got to former Brewer Shaun Marcum early, Yovani Gallardo did just enough on the mound and at the plate and the Brewers held on late for a 7-6 win over the Mets at Miller Park.

The win eases the memory of Friday's ugly 12-5 loss in the opener, even though it was not much prettier to watch. The Brewers nearly coughed up a 5-0 lead but held off the Mets to even the three-game set before Sunday's finale.

"I'll play every game just like that if we win," Brewers left fielder Logan Schafer said. "It's a battle, that's why this game is fun. They kept coming back, we kept coming back at them. We exchanged punches for a while. I'm glad we stayed on top."

The Brewers landed the first blow with five runs off Marcum in the first four innings. Milwaukee plated single tallies in the first, third and fourth innings and two runs in the second for an early 5-0 lead.

Jonathan Lucroy, who caught Marcum in Milwaukee from 2011-12, lined an RBI single in the first and added his ninth home run -- a solo shot -- to the upper deck in left field in the third.

"It helps with the familiarity with his pitches," Lucroy said of facing his former batterymate. "It gives you a little bit of an advantage, but for the most part, the pitches I hit were mistake pitches. They were just up in the zone. It's pretty general across baseball: the pitches up in the zone are going to get hit."

A Norichika Aoki RBI single, a Segura sac fly in the second and a Segura RBI single in the fourth supplied the Crew with its early cushion.

But after opening with four scoreless innings, Gallardo faltered in the fifth and sixth to let the Mets back in the game.

John Buck started the comeback with a solo home run that hugged the right field line and bounced off the foul pole and back into play. After some confusion, it was ruled a homer on the field, and it was upheld after review. It was the fifth replay of the season for the Brewers and first that was upheld.

Another run came around in the fifth on a Daniel Murphy double, and the Mets cut Milwaukee's lead to 5-4 in the sixth on a two-run Buck single.

Gallardo entered Saturday having allowed 13 runs (11 earned) in seven innings pitched his last two starts combined. The right-hander has batted away questions about a distraction with his name surfacing in trade talks, mainly with the D-backs -- his next opponent on Thursday.

"The ball was just up, especially in the sixth inning," Gallardo said. "In the later innings, the ball slowly started making its way up."

Gallardo threw 103 pitches -- 60 for strikes -- but he said his arm was not tired in the later innings. Lucroy said it might have been.

"I think he started to get a little tired," Lucroy said. "He really threw well the first four innings. The last two he kind of struggled, scuffled a little bit. For the most part I think he gave a pretty good solid start and gave us a chance to win, kept us there and that's most important."

Gallardo was involved with many key offensive plays, finishing 2-for-2 with two runs scored and upping his batting average to .286. His final at-bat helped the Brewers add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

After fouling off consecutive cutters on bunt attempts, Gallardo laid down a two-strike bunt with Schafer on first. Marcum fielded the ball and fired to first with second baseman Murphy covering, but the ball bounced off the tip of Murphy's glove and into shallow right field, scoring the speedy Schafer.

"I saw the bunt was pretty well-placed, so I knew I wasn't going to have to slide [into second base]," Schafer said. "So I was able to kind of turn second base and look and I saw it clank off of Murphy's glove, and I was off to the races from there, running hard. I knew it was out there in no-man's land, so I was running and I had my mind set on scoring unless Eddie [Sedar, the third base coach] stopped me."

The Mets, however, had two chances to even the game late.

Milwaukee reliever John Axford loaded the bases with one out in the seventh inning, but he limited the damage to a Marlon Byrd sacrifice fly. That was the first run Axford has allowed in 24 appearances, snapping a scoreless streak of 23 games and 20 1/3 innings dating back to May 14.

Michael Gonzalez relieved Jim Henderson in the eighth and coaxed a Murphy flyout with runners on second and third with two outs.

Gallardo finished with a line of six innings, six hits, four earned runs, three walks and six strikeouts.

Marcum lasted five-plus innings, allowing 11 hits and six runs (five earned). The righty said he felt some tingling in his hand, which he experienced in his last start before snapping at reporters.

"Like I told Terry, I'm not going to pull myself out of the game," Marcum said. "I'm going to continue to pitch and pitch as long as I can. If something comes up, we've got to figure out what it is. But I'm going to try to throw through it and do whatever I can to help these guys."

Said Mets manager Terry Collins: "I'll tell you, it can be tough facing a team that knows you so well. But he got us to the sixth inning. We needed to get some innings out of him. We were pretty short in the pen tonight, and he got us there without huge damage."

Schafer finished 3-for-4, and Rickie Weeks and Lucroy each added two hits for the Brewers.

Milwaukee did have some bad news when Aramis Ramirez exited the game in the fifth. Ramirez left after making a diving play to his left to end the inning. He has been nursing a left knee injury most of this season.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said his third baseman felt soreness in his knee before the diving play.

Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.