MILWAUKEE (AP)—Mets manager Willie Randolph gave Prince Fielder candy as a kid. But it was Fielder’s sweet swing that sank New York on Friday night.
“I remember when he was a little baby and now he’s coming back to haunt me,” Randolph said. “I was always nice to him, you know. I gave him candy.”
Fielder hit a two-run homer off left-handed reliever Darren Oliver to cap a six-run fifth inning when the Brewers scored all their runs with two outs.
Fielder, now 5-for-9 with two homers when teams bring in a lefty to face him, credited his father, former home run champ Cecil Fielder, with preparing him.
“All through high school and minor leagues, my dad always told me that lefties were going to be the guys that would come in and try to get me out,” Fielder said. “I just really try to focus and go right back up the middle.”
Lima (0-2) came in with a 10-0 record and 1.92 ERA in 14 appearances against Milwaukee, and the Mets’ starter was cruising into the fifth, allowing just two hits and one run.
Lima then fell behind Jenkins 3-0. He hit the next pitch foul, then smacked a sharp double that rolled to the center-field wall, clearing the bases and giving the Brewers a 4-3 lead.
“We really needed a big hit from one of our veteran players and he got it for us,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said.
Randolph then went to Oliver, and Fielder hit the first pitch for an opposite-field home run to give Milwaukee a 7-3 lead.
“I got the lead. I didn’t hold it,” Lima said. “It’s not the guys’ fault, it’s my fault. It’s all my fault.”
Fielder had already shown his prodigious power the previous inning, snapping an 0-for-13 skid. He fouled off three of Lima’s pitches before hitting one so hard that Mets right fielder Endy Chavez just turned and watched it go.
“You can’t try to do that,” Fielder said. “I just try to make solid contact and let the ball do whatever it wants.”
The drive was estimated at 475 feet, the second-longest since Miller Park opened in 2001, and it cut New York’s lead to 3-1.
“All of a sudden, we score one run on Prince’s homer and come back the next inning and put a bunch on the board,” Yost said. “You just make your own luck every day.”
Meanwhile, there was little in-between for Brewers starter Dave Bush (3-4), who either couldn’t find the plate or fired 86 mph fastballs down the middle in the process of giving up four runs and seven hits in six innings.
“I really think the key to the ballgame was Dave Bush grinding it out tonight,” Yost said. “He wasn’t exceptionally sharp, but he did a great job of grinding through it and keeping us in the ballgame.”
Bush allowed the first runner to reach in five of his six innings, and three came around to score. But the Mets squandered their best chance to open a sizable advantage after loading the bases with none out in the third.
“That’s really a big part in the game,” Randolph said. “We had a guy who was kind of struggling on the ropes. That’s what I think more about than anything else.”
Russell Branyan hit a home run in Miller Park estimated at 480 feet in 2004. … Lima’s ERA against the Brewers is now 2.37. … The Mets will purchase Jeremi Gonzalez’s Triple-A contract before his first scheduled start on Saturday. The Mets optioned reliever Heath Bell to Triple-A Norfolk after the game to make room for Gonzalez. … Yost said that new starting pitcher Ben Hendrickson’s velocity is good, but his poor command has caused problems. “He’s not getting ahead in the count,” Yost said. “That’s a recipe for disaster.” Hendrickson replaced Tomo Ohka (rotator cuff) in the rotation last week. … Delgado’s 382nd home run tied him for 51st place on the career list with Jim Rice and Frank Howard. Larry Walker is next with 383.