Thursday, June 12, 2014
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Brewers go all-in to top Mets

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[June 12, 2014]  NEW YORK -- Ron Roenicke managed Wednesday night's game like it was October because he wants the Milwaukee Brewers to be playing in October.

The Brewers won't know for months if they're going to participate in the playoffs for only the fifth time in the franchise's 46-season history, but Roenicke hopes games such as Wednesday's 3-1 victory over the New York Mets at Citi Field provide the foundation for the Brewers' first trip to the postseason since they reached the National League Championship Series in 2011.

The Brewers won on a night in which they stranded 11 runners, had two more thrown out trying to advance and had just one run-scoring hit leave the infield.

And in an arrangement straight out of the October playbook, Roenicke used three pitchers -- right-handed starter Wily Peralta, left-hander Zach Duke and right-hander Rob Wooten -- to get three outs in the seventh before turning to his top two relievers, left-hander Will Smith and right-hander Francisco Rodriguez, in the eighth and ninth.

"I always talk about those games that we need to win and we've got to win," Roenicke said. "I know I used four guys there, probably could have gone with Wily longer, could have gone with Duke longer. There's some things I could have done, but I wanted to win this game."

Roenicke was especially adamant about not wasting a tremendous defensive performance by the Brewers. Shortstop Jean Segura robbed the Mets of two hits with diving stops and first baseman Mark Reynolds ended the game by leaping to his right to snare a broken-bat liner off the bat of Mets right fielder Bobby Abreu.

"Yes, we didn't add on a couple runs that we could have, but I thought we played really well," Roenicke said. "When we play that type of ball, I don't want to lose that game."

The win improved the Brewers to 39-27 -- the best record in team history through 66 games.

"I think it's something to be proud of, considering some of the teams we've had in our history," said catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who continued his torrid hitting by going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and an RBI groundout.

Milwaukee also expanded its lead in the NL Central to five games by virtue of St. Louis' loss to Tampa Bay. The Brewers have been in first place for 77 days this season. The only two division champions in franchise history, the 1982 and 2011 teams, spent 89 and 100 days in first place, respectively.

"For our guys to play the way they have, I think that says a lot about our team and our makeup," Lucroy said. "Hopefully we can continue to play this way down the stretch."

Lucroy's RBI grounder to short tied the game in the second inning. Segura's RBI single in the third gave the Brewers the lead and center fielder Carlos Gomez had an infield RBI single in the fourth inning.

Lucroy's eighth three-hit game of the season -- and his 25th multi-hit game -- raised his average to .341, second in the National League behind only Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki (.356). Gomez and second baseman Scooter Gennett had two hits apiece.

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Peralta allowed just the one run on four hits and one walk while striking out three over 6 1/3 innings. He left immediately after the game to board a flight to his native Dominican Republic to tend to a family matter. The Brewers said he will return to the team this weekend and will not miss his next scheduled start.

Lucroy said he was particularly impressed with Peralta's effort given that he was dealing with a personal matter.

"I don't think I could do that with stuff like that on my mind," Lucroy said. "Pretty tough."

Rodriguez, a former Mets closer, earned his 20th save with a perfect ninth.

The Mets (29-26) lost for the seventh time in eight games.

Center fielder Curtis Granderson reached base three times in four plate appearances -- via a walk, double and single -- and scored the Mets' only run on first baseman Lucas Duda's second-inning sacrifice fly.

Rookie right-hander Jacob deGrom (0-3) took the loss after giving up three runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out four in 5 2/3 innings. He is 0-3 in six starts despite a 3.44 ERA.

"One of these days, we are going to get that big hit for him and he'll get that win," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

NOTES: Before the game, the Mets activated RHP Gonzalez Germen from the 15-day disabled list. Germen hasn't pitched since May 5 because of a virus and an abscess. The Mets made room for Germen by optioning LHP Scott Rice to Triple-A Las Vegas after Tuesday's 6-2 win. ... Mets RHP Dillon Gee (strained right lat) is scheduled to throw off a mound this weekend for the first time since going on the disabled list May 14. ... Manager Ron Roenicke said he wasn't sure what the Brewers' plans were for LHP Tom Gorzelanny, whose 30-day rehab assignment ends Thursday. Gorzelanny has missed the entire season recovering from offseason surgery on his left shoulder. ... The Brewers were 38-28 through 66 games just three times in the franchise's first 45 seasons (1978, 1981, 2011).

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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