NEW YORK — The only thing Jonathan Lucroy wished he would have done differently Thursday night was hit that home run sooner.
On the eve of his 28th birthday, Lucroy hit a tiebreaking shot in a four-run 13th inning and the Milwaukee Brewers outlasted the New York Mets 5-1 after an unusual rain delay that lasted all of 3 minutes.
”Believe me, I was trying to do it earlier than that,” Lucroy said. ”Sorry.”
Aramis Ramirez homered in the second inning to end a Brewers’ power drought and finished with three hits, helping the NL Central leaders take two of three in the series. Milwaukee (40-27) completed a 5-3 road trip with its 10th victory in 15 games overall, matching a season high at 13 games above .500.
New York took advantage of an error by Gold Glove center fielder Carlos Gomez to tie it in the fourth before Kyle Lohse and Jonathon Niese settled into a crisp pitchers’ duel.
”I tried to get us out of there quick, but their guy wasn’t cooperating,” Lohse said. ”He was mixing it up good. I was mixing it up good. We were flying for a little bit until we hit extra innings.”
The slumping Mets stranded seven runners from the ninth through the 11th and blew a bases-loaded opportunity with a chance to win. They lost for the eighth time in nine games and fell a season-worst eight games under .500 at 29-37.
Ryan Braun was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts when he opened the 13th with an infield single off Carlos Torres (2-4). Lucroy, also hitless in five at-bats after beginning the night with a .341 batting average, drove a hanging curve to left field for his fifth home run.
Mark Reynolds added an RBI single and Rickie Weeks was hit by Dana Eveland’s pitch with the bases loaded.
Back in the dugout, a frustrated Torres wiped his face with a towel and punched himself repeatedly on both sides of the head.
Zach Duke (4-0) tossed a perfect inning and Francisco Rodriguez finished in a non-save situation.
”The way our guys threw tonight was awesome,” Lucroy said. ”It was a lot of fun to be a part of, although I wish we would have gotten done a little earlier.”
Mets closer Jenrry Mejia got two outs in the 10th, but a stiff back flared up as he was warming for the 11th and he left the game.
Moments later, a sudden downpour halted play. Fans scurried for cover as umpires consulted the grounds crew — and the radar on a smartphone –near third base.
Players stayed in the dugout waiting for word and when the rain quickly lightened to a drizzle, the game resumed after only 3 minutes.
”That was weird. I thought they were going to pull the tarp and bag it and have like a one-inning playoff next time when they come to our place,” Lucroy said with a laugh. ”Crazy night. Glad we could win and get out of here on a good note.”
Brewers reliever Brandon Kintzler escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the 11th with the help of a five-man infield. Wilmer Flores grounded into a force at the plate before Anthony Recker struck out looking.
Incensed by the call, Recker argued and was quickly ejected by plate umpire Angel Hernandez.
”You can’t get thrown out there,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. ”I understand his frustration and everything else, but he’s got to know there’s nobody left on that bench except one guy.”
With both starters working fast and throwing strikes, the first nine innings were played in a brisk 2 hours, 23 minutes.
Lohse, who struggled in three previous starts at Citi Field, held the Mets to an unearned run in eight economical innings. Niese, meanwhile, gave New York another steady outing with nothing to show for it.
The left-hander struck out a season-high eight in 7 2/3 innings. He has a 2.22 ERA over 28 1-3 innings in his last four games, all no-decisions.
”I felt really good,” Niese said. ”I knew this is a tough-hitting team against lefties, so I kind of had to go away from how I normally pitch. I used my changeup a lot more.”
Ramirez hit a solo shot to left-center for Milwaukee’s first home run in six games. The last time the Brewers went five games without a long ball was May 4-8, 2011, according to STATS.
Lohse retired his first nine batters before Daniel Murphy lined a leadoff single in the fourth. The ball skipped past an indecisive Gomez, allowing Murphy to reach third on the two-base error. He scored easily on Bobby Abreu’s sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Milwaukee is 13-6 at Citi Field. … Ruben Tejada had made seven straight starts at shortstop for New York before Flores got the nod Thursday night. … Murphy batted leadoff for the first time since May 26, 2013, according to STATS.