MILWAUKEE — July 25 will rank as one of the best days in the career of New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda.
The first baseman hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to lead the Mets to a thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Mets trailed 2-0 entering the ninth inning, but Daniel Murphy led off with a double off closer Francisco Rodriguez (4-4), who blew his fourth save of the season. David Wright followed with an RBI single.
Duda hit the first pitch he saw from Rodriguez into the Mets bullpen in right field. It was his career-high 17th home run of the season and his third in the last four games. “I got a fastball and I was able to put the barrel of the bat on it,” he said. “It was a pretty special moment. I am glad I was able to help pick up the team and get this win.”
The Mets were still in the game thanks to a very good pitching performance by Zach Wheeler, who gave up only one hit through six innings before tiring in the seventh. He pitched 6 2-3 innings, giving up one earned run and three hits and had nine strikeouts. Wheeler said he “was effectively wild throughout the game.”
“It worked to my advantage this time,” he said. “I felt good out there and was able to make key pitches to get some outs.”
Mets Manager Terry Collins was glad his team could come back and make sure Wheeler did not get the loss. “That was an outstanding performance by Wheeler,” Collins said. “He can go home and know that he did his job tonight.”
Collins said he was particularly pleased to see the hitting performances of Murphy, who had three hits, Wright, who had the single, and Duda. “When those three guys are hitting, we are going to win games,” he said.
Carlos Torres (5-4) pitched the eighth inning to get the win. Jenrry Mejia gave up a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy, but got the next three outs to record his 14th save in 16 chances. The loss broke the Brewers’ four-game winning streak.
Rodriguez said it was a frustrating performance. The Brewers are 48-2 when leading after eight innings. “They come out swinging and everything was up out over the plate,” he said. “Fortunately, it’s not my first rodeo. Not going to be the first one, won’t be the last one. That’s the reality.”
The home run spoiled a sparkling performance by Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo, who allowed four hits over 7 2-3 innings.
Gallardo, who has not won since June 19, retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced. With two outs in the eighth inning, pinch-hitter Eric Campbell was called out on a groundball, but the call was overturned after a replay review. Will Smith relieved Gallardo and struck out Curtis Granderson to end the inning.
“I think I was able to keep the ball down, both sides of the plate,” Gallardo said. “I had a pretty good curveball (and) was able to throw it for strikes.”
Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead in the sixth without a hit. Rickie Weeks walked and Ryan Braun hit a groundball that went through the legs of Murphy at second base for his second error of the game.
Aramais Ramirez grounded to shortstop Rueben Tejada, who got the out at second, but Ramirez beat Murphy’s throw to first and Weeks scored. Carlos Gomez hit his 15th home run of the season with two outs in the seventh to boost Milwaukee’s lead to 2-0.