Brewers 4, Mets 3

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NEW YORK (AP)—Seemingly in slow motion, Eddie Perez hit third base and turned for home.

No way this slow-footed catcher could score from second on a wild pitch, right?

There was no way the stumbling New York Mets could stop him.

Perez’s long journey around the bases helped the Milwaukee Brewers beat the New York Mets 4-3 Thursday and prompted his teammates to give him a new nickname.

“They call me Seabiscuit now,” Perez said.

Matt Kinney pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning to win for the first time in more than a month and Scott Podsednik and Perez hit RBI singles for the Brewers, who took three of four in an uninspiring series between last-place teams.

Richie Sexson also drove in a run for Milwaukee with a bases-loaded walk. The punchless Mets have lost five of six and 17 of 22.

Perez snapped an 0-for-17 slump with an RBI single that gave the Brewers a 3-1 lead in the eighth. He moved up on a sacrifice and scored from second when Edwin Almonte’s wild pitch caromed off catcher Jason Phillips’ mask toward the first-base dugout.

“I thought about pinch-running for him, too. With that speed, who needs a pinch-runner?” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost deadpanned. “That was nothing short of a miracle.”

Mets first baseman Tony Clark finally retrieved the ball and threw home, but it was too late.

“I haven’t seen too many bounces like that,” Clark said. “To make matters worse, it kind of ricocheted into the corner instead of going into the dugout.”

Coming off his worst start of the season, Kinney (7-8) cruised into the seventh inning with a 2-0 lead. But he walked Raul Gonzalez leading off and Clark’s single put runners at the corners.

Leo Estrella came on and struck out pinch-hitter Cliff Floyd. Estrella’s balk scored Gonzalez, but Clark broke from second on pinch-hitter Jeff Duncan’s liner to center and was easily doubled up, ending the inning.

“I read it falling in and it stayed up,” Clark said.

With the help of an error by second baseman Bill Hall, the Mets cut it to 4-3 in the eighth on Timo Perez’s RBI groundout and Phillips’ RBI single.

But Mike DeJean retired Gonzalez on a popup and Clark on a hard liner to Hall to escape further damage. Dan Kolb worked the ninth for his fourth save, retiring Timo Perez on a game-ending grounder with two on.

Kinney gave up one run in six-plus innings, walking three and striking out three. He was 0-2 with a 9.11 ERA in his previous five starts since beating Minnesota on June 27 with his first career complete game. The right-hander lasted just 2 2-3 innings in a 13-8 loss at Colorado in his last outing.

“It felt good to finally win a game again,” Kinney said. “My mental approach was better. Instead of trying to pick and be perfect, I said, `Here it comes.”’

Rookie Aaron Heilman, the Mets’ first-round pick in the 2001 amateur draft, walked six in 5 2-3 innings in his seventh big league start. He gave up two runs, six hits and struck out a career-high seven.

Heilman (1-4) pitched out of trouble early, but began to run out of luck in the fifth. Hall led off with a single and advanced on Kinney’s sacrifice. Podsednik’s single and a walk to Royce Clayton loaded the bases.

After Geoff Jenkins flied out, Sexson walked to force in a run. Heilman struck out John Vander Wal for the third time to end the inning, then got into another jam in the sixth.

He walked Kinney, 1-for-36 this season, with two outs, and Podsednik followed with an RBI single that chased Heilman.

“He did his job, he kept us in the game,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “He was around the plate, but it seemed like once an inning he’d walk somebody. Tworuns, you’d take that every day.”

Notes

Milwaukee 3B Wes Helms left in the fifth inning after aggravating his right hamstring. He was replaced by Keith Ginter, who went 2-for-2 and scored twice. … Podsednik had three hits and his 22nd stolen base. … The Brewers won the season series, 6-3, for the first time since moving to the NL in 1998. Milwaukee is 15-31 all-time against the Mets, including 8-17 at Shea Stadium. … Mets rookie Jose Reyes stole his sixth base in the first inning and hadthree hits.

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