MILWAUKEE (AP)—Instead of the parade of taxis that usually delivers visiting players to the loading dock entrance at Milwaukee’s Miller Park, the New York Mets rode in together on a bus from their hotel.
If they haven’t been playing as a team lately, they at least could arrive as one.
Maybe it was a coincidence, but the Mets went on to break a season-worst five-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday despite a career-high 12 strikeouts from young Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo(notes).
Mets manager Jerry Manuel wasn’t particularly eager to credit the bus ride, or the previous night’s postgame team meeting, as essential motivational techniques. After all, the next day’s starter is allowed to leave the game early — so Pelfrey wasn’t even at Manuel’s clear-the-air session that lasted 28 minutes Tuesday night.
“I told him, ‘If he’d been at the meeting, he would have thrown a no-hitter,”’ Manuel joked.
Pelfrey (6-3) gave up six hits and two walks in 7 2-3 innings, and Ryan Church came through with an RBI single in the sixth as the Mets stopped a five-game losing streak and avoided a series sweep by the Brewers.
“It was big, especially going against Gallardo,” Pelfrey said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the league. I almost had to be perfect.”
Gallardo (8-5) gave up five hits in seven innings.
“Yovani obviously threw the ball great,” Ryan Braun said. “He certainly deserved to win today.”
The Brewers completed a 5-4 homestand and will travel to Chicago for a four-game series against the Cubs beginning Thursday.
“It was a good homestand, but today was a bit of a downer,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “We’ll take two out of three against the Mets and Giants.”
Pelfrey allowed a single and a walk with two outs in the eighth, but Sean Green(notes) got J.J Hardy to ground into a forceout at third. Rodriguez pitched the ninth, allowing a leadoff single to Braun before retiring the side for his 21st save.
New York (38-39), which backed Pelfrey with a pair of double plays, are without injured stars Carlos Beltran(notes) (knee), Jose Reyes (calf, hamstring) and Carlos Delgado(notes) (hip). The Mets were coming off a 9-18 record in June, their worst month in nearly six years, and they were 1-4 in Pelfrey’s June starts.
Gallardo’s 12 strikeouts were the most by a pitcher against the Mets since John Smoltz(notes) struck out 15 for the Braves on April 10, 2005, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Mets also won that game, 6-1.
“It was a tough loss for us,” Gallardo said. “I thought I threw the ball pretty well.”
It was a frustrating afternoon all around for David Wright(notes), who went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Wright slammed his glove into the bench after making a throwing error in the second inning, then flung his helmet to the ground after taking a called strike three in the third.
Wright originally was to have a day off but lobbied his way back into the lineup.
“He’s still part of the leadership, and they need to see him out there like that,” Manuel said. “After what we’ve kind of struggled with, it’s important that we see him out there.”
Wright said he always would prefer to play.
“There’s some days where he tell you you’re not playing, and there’s some days where he kind of asks you,” Wright said.
The Mets finally broke through in the sixth when Luis Castillo(notes) led off with a ground-rule double, losing a shot at a triple when a woman wearing a Hardy T-shirt fell onto the field trying to reach for the ball.
Prince Fielder(notes) led off the seventh with a single, then went to second on a balk by Pelfrey—Pelfrey’s fifth of the season. But Fielder was thrown out trying to take third base on a missed bunt by Corey Hart(notes).
Pelfrey acknowledged that he didn’t completely understand the balk rule; he said the umpire called him for stepping off the side of the rubber instead of stepping straight back.
Still, he joked that he was being picked on.
“I’ve already got the league lead in balks,” Pelfrey said. “I’ve already got that secured.”
NOTES: Plate umpire Brian O’Nora went to the dugout in the bottom of the fourth to have his eye looked at by a trainer but quickly returned. … Gallardo struck out 11 in a victory over Pittsburgh on April 29.