Baseball / Sports

Lucroy's 13th-inning HR lifts Brewers past Mets

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- If you're going to play extra innings, especially on a getaway day, you might as well win the game.

Finally getting a timely hit from who else but Jonathan Lucroy, the Milwaukee Brewers did just that Thursday night. His home run down the left-field line in the 13th off Carlos Torres lifted Milwaukee over the New York Mets, 5-1, at Citi Field.

The victory sent the Brewers back home with a 5-3 record on their eight-game, nine-day road trip and left them at 13 games over .500 for the second time this season at 40-27.

"It's a real good one to win," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "We got great pitching today. Took a long time to get some offense, but we had great pitching today."

Ryan Braun led off the 13th with a single to center, then as he headed for second on a steal attempt Lucroy turned on a Torres curveball on an 0-1 count and deposited it into the seats in left to put the Brewers ahead, 3-1.

"Believe me, I was trying to do it earlier than that," said Lucroy, whose homer was an early 28th birthday present. "He hung a curveball. We had our chances. After Brauny hit the leadoff (single), I was just up there trying to hit the ball hard and drive it. He left me a pitch up and I was able to hit it hard."

They then padded the lead, with Carlos Gomez singling, Aramis Ramirez doubling, Khris Davis walking and Mark Reynolds singling to center to score Gomez and make it 4-1. Rickie Weeks later was hit by a pitch from Dana Eveland that made it 5-1.

Francisco Rodriguez finished the game in the bottom of the 13th for the Brewers.

Lost in the extra innings was the tremendous job turned in by both starting pitchers -- Jonathon Niese for the Mets and Kyle Lohse for the Brewers.

Niese limited the Brewers to six hits, one run (earned) and one walk while striking out a season-high eight in 72/3 innings. The lone mistake he made was allowing a solo home run to Ramirez in the second.

Lohse, meanwhile, allowed four hits and one run (unearned) while striking out three. He threw 99 pitches in eight innings.

The game took a turn into weirdness in the 11th, when Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia injured himself warming up and had to replaced by Germen Gonzalez. Then, after Lucroy struck out, the skies opened up and the players scurried off the field.

But just as quickly, the rain subsided and after an official delay of 3 minutes, the game continued. Gomez struck out and Ramirez fouled out to end the inning.

Brandon Kintzler, who pitched a scoreless 10th, walked David Wright to start the Mets' 11th. He stole second and moved to third on a groundout to first by Lucas Duda.

At that point, the Brewers went with five infielders as Braun ran in to play between Reynolds at first base and the bag at second. Chris Young walked, and Curtis Granderson came up to pinch-hit.

The Brewers kept five infielders, but moved Braun over between Jean Segura at shortstop and second base before intentionally walking Granderson to load the bases for Wilmer Flores.

He grounded to Reynolds, who threw home for the force, and the Brewers moved back to a regular alignment with Anthony Recker coming up. Recker looked at a called third strike, earning Kintzler an amazing escape job and the Mets' catcher an ejection from home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez.

"He did a nice job and made some pitches when he needed to," Roenicke said of Kintzler. "Certainly wasn't easy. But he threw some nice sinkers, some nice sliders."

Against Torres in the 12th, Davis popped out to shortstop before Reynolds and Segura each singled to put runners at the corners for pinch-hitter Scooter Gennett.

Gennett and Weeks both struck out swinging, though, scuttling the rally and continuing the evening-long lack of offense.

Both starting pitchers were on top of their games from the outset.

Niese struck out six in the first four innings but made one big mistake, with Ramirez jumping all over a 1-0 fastball and hitting it out to left-center to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.

The left-hander recovered by striking out the side in the third, before getting into a spot of trouble in the fourth when he plunked Ramirez – the second Brewer to be hit by a pitch in the game – and surrendered a single to Davis to put two on with two outs for Reynolds.

But Reynolds couldn't deliver, striking out to end the frame.

Lohse, meanwhile, needed just six pitches to retire the Mets in the first and cruised into the fourth before allowing his first hit.

That proved to be a big one, as Daniel Murphy led off with a sinking drive to center that Gomez ran in on but then let bounce and get past him. Murphy motored all the way around to third for a two-base error. One pitch later Bobby Abreu drove him in with a sacrifice fly to left.

"When it was hit, I thought it was going to hit farther, and Gomey did, too," Roenicke said. "He comes charging in hard, and I think he should. I think he should go for balls. Then when you see you're not going to get it, you go to block it. But the ball got by him somehow."

Niese scattered a couple singles over the next two innings while the Mets managed a couple baserunners as well against Lohse on a Segura error in the fifth and a single in the sixth. Young reached on the error and stole second to move into scoring position, but in keeping with the theme of the night he advanced no further.

In the seventh, Niese struck out two more to reach a season high of eight. Lohse allowed his fourth single of the night in the bottom of the seventh but again emerged unscathed.

Niese entered the eighth at 86 pitches and Lohse at 85. Gomez extended the eighth with a two-out single to left, and Mets manager Terry Collins lifted Niese with his pitch count at 97.

Jeurys Familia came in and got Ramirez to ground out to shortstop..

Lohse pitched a 1-2-3 eighth to leave his count at 99, and Roenicke elected to end his night there. After had been pounded for nine hits and eight earned runs last time out in Pittsburgh, Lohse allowed four hits and one unearned run without issuing a walk while also striking out three.

"I did everything I came in wanting to do," said Lohse. "Their guy (Niese) did a great job too, keeping us off, except for the homer by Rami.Not much you can do. He was mixing it up, good I was mixing it up good, and we were flying for a little bit until we hit extra innings."

Lohse said he was fine with Roenicke's decision to remove him at that point.

"I wanted to (keep pitching), but it was pretty humid," he said. "It was a tough decision, but I ultimately left it up to him, as I would. I was pretty gassed."

Will Smith retired the first two batters he faced before walking Duda. Young followed with a hard shot down the third-base line that Ramirez stabbed with a dive, but Young beat his throw to first base.

Pinch-hitter Ruben Tejada then bounced out to Ramirez, sending the Brewers into extra innings for the ninth time this season.

(c)2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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