Brewers 6, Mets 2
Prince Fielder had just struck out on a sneaky 84 mph fastball from R.A. Dickey after fouling off six straight knuckleballs. His reaction: a big grin.
Hey, why not? The Mets could do very little to slow the Brewers' burly RBI machine this weekend.
Fielder got the best of Dickey in the sixth inning, driving in a run with a single, then drove in the go-ahead run on a botched potential double-play grounder in the eighth, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to a 6-2 victory Sunday for their first series sweep in New York.
''It was hilarious,'' Fielder said. ''I'm not a fan of his knuckleball at all.''
Yovani Gallardo shut down the Mets for seven innings, Casey McGehee homered off Dickey and Ryan Braun had three hits, an RBI and scored twice after stealing bases for the Brewers.
Milwaukee won three straight in Queens to send the Mets six games under .500 for the first time since May 4 with a thorough display of superior baseball this weekend. Shaun Marcum stifled New York on Friday in a 6-1 win. Fielder and the Brewers rallied Saturday after blowing a late six-run lead for an 11-9 victory, and Gallardo (14-8) gave up six hits in the finale to match a career high for wins.
The NL Central-leading Brewers have won eight of nine on the road to improve to 29-36 away from home and are winners in 22 of 25 overall. Should the Cardinals lose the Cubs on Sunday night, Milwaukee's fans will wake Monday morning to see its club with the biggest division lead in franchise history, 9 1/2 games.
''We're playing like we do at home,'' manager Ron Roenicke said of Milwaukee, which is a major league-best 47-16 at Miller Park.
Lucas Duda stunned Gallardo in the seventh after striking out his first two at-bats, launching a home run that landed in the bullpen in right-center to tie it 2-all. Jason bay followed with a double high off the wall in left-center but Gallardo got out of it, retiring pinch-hitter Willie Harris on a popup.
''Just had to keep it there,'' Gallardo said. ''I just had to had to leave it all on the field and not allow that go-ahead run to score.''
The Brewers rallied in the eighth after Dickey left and Fielder was at the center again.
Fielder had quite a series against the Mets, driving in eight runs. He hit a tying single Saturday in the ninth, then put Milwaukee up 2-0 with a single in the sixth Sunday.
With runners on first and third and lefty Tim Byrdak on the mound in relief of Manny Acosta, Fielder hit a routine grounder to rookie second baseman Justin Turner. But Turner's throw to shortstop Ruben Tejada covering the base was low for an error. Nyjer Morgan, who had walked for just the ninth time this year, scored and Braun - he singled - advanced to second.
''When you play a team like this you know you have to play mistake-free baseball,'' Mets third baseman David Wright said.
Fielder was credited with his 14th RBI against the Mets this season and 98th overall.
Braun stole third and scored on Jerry Hairston Jr.'s single for a 4-2 lead.
I think we really got that feel on the road as well - as at home,'' Fielder said. ''I think yesterday helped us with our confidence by far.''
Acosta (1-1) gave up a hit and a walk in the eighth without getting an out. He failed in the ninth Saturday, coming in with the bases loaded.
The Brewers scored two more in the ninth against a Mets bullpen that has yielded at least one run in 21 of the past 26 games, including our Sunday.
Morgan bunted with runners on first and third, and reliever Pedro Beato had one play: to first as a run scored. Braun laced a run-scoring double to right field for a 6-2 lead.
Gallardo struck out six and walked one intentionally. The homer to Duda was his 18th allowed this season.
Dickey was equally as good. His one big mistake came to McGehee, otherwise his knuckleball confused the potent lineup.
He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, having given up six hits and two runs without walking a batter. He lasted at least six innings for the ninth straight start.
''His knuckleball was great,'' catcher Josh Thole said. ''It was one of the best,'' this year.
The Brewers' formidable 3-4 hitters combined to give Milwaukee a 2-0 lead in the sixth. Braun singled and stole second - his 25th steal - then Fielder slapped a single up the middle after looking lost against Dickey in his first two at-bats.
NOTES: Mets SS Jose Reyes ran from home to first several times to test his hamstring. He will not come off the DL when eligible Tuesday. He will ramp up his rehab Monday by making turns on the bases and increasing the intensity of his workouts. Reyes will likely play in rehab games at the end of the week. ... Brewers INF Craig Counsell turned 41. He singled as a pinch-hitter and scored in the ninth. ... Brewers LHP Chris Narveson (8-6) will come off the DL (cut on thumb) to pitch the first game of a doubleheader against Pittsburgh on Monday. Zack Greinke (12-4) will pitch the nightcap. ... The Mets travel to Philadelphia where Jonathon Niese (11-10) will face Cliff Lee (13-7). ... The Brewers designated INF Felipe Lopez for assignment after the game.