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Defense, Niese help Mets end six-game losing streak

The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- After six consecutive losses, and eight in their last nine games, the New York Mets needed a spark.

They got one Friday, thanks to a sharp defense that turned three double plays, a strong outing from their starting pitcher and a clutch, late-inning home run.

All of that added up to a 7-3 victory over the Brewers on Friday at Miller Park.

Mets starter Jonathon Niese allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings of work and improved to 11-9, snapping a personal three-game losing streak.

Niese stifled a Milwaukee lineup that had been red-hot of late, winning 17 of its last 19 games at Miller Park -- including nine in a row. The Brewers clawed their way back over .500 for the first time since April and into the thick of the National League wild-card race.

Milwaukee had just two extra-base hits against Niese, a Travis Ishikawa RBI double in the second and an Aramis Ramirez double in the sixth, and moved just two other runners into scoring position against Niese.

"They've got a great lineup," Niese said. "They make you work."

The Mets wasted little time getting to Fiers. Duda hit a two-run double in the first, and in the second Daniel Murphy took Fiers' first pitch, a fastball, to right for his sixth home run of the season for a 4-0 New York lead.

"(My command) wasn't there," Fiers said. "I need to find a way to get started earlier in the game. I wish I could take this start and start in the third inning. It kind of got away from me early. I couldn't locate.

"I just didn't know where the ball was going in the first inning. I just need to come back and do like I did from the third inning on in the first inning next game."

Milwaukee, though, came right back in the bottom of the inning. Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez singled to open the inning. Ishikawa followed with a ground-rule double that drove in Lucroy and moved Gomez to third.

Gomez got caught trying to score when Segura hit a liner right at Niese for the first out. Segura reached and Ishikawa moved to third, then scored on Fiers' base hit to right-center, cutting the Mets' lead in half.

Both pitchers settled in after the second. Fiers went on to work through the fifth, striking out four and walking two while allowing six hits but New York extended the lead in the sixth when Lucas Duda led off against reliever Manny Parra with a home run -- his 14th of the season -- to right-center, capping off a 2-for-3 day.

"That's what we saw last year out of Lucas," Collins said. "He changes the complexion of our lineup."

The Brewers put runners at first and second with nobody out in the eighth against Bobby Parnell, but Lucroy hit a grounder that Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada fielded from his belly to start a clutch double play. They added one in the ninth, on Nyjer Morgan's pinch-hit triple to right that scored Jean Segura.

Notes: Mets 3B David Wright doubled in his first at-bat, extending his hitting streak to eight games. ... Brewers 1B Corey Hart, sidelined since tearing tissue in his foot Sunday at St. Louis, missed his fourth game in a row. ... The Mets will start Jenrry Mejia Saturday. The right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and his last start came exactly two years ago to the day. ... Ishikawa doubled in the second, giving the Brewers an extra-base hit in 83 consecutive games ... The loss dropped Milwaukee to four games behind St. Louis, which was playing late at Los Angeles, for the second NL wild card.
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