Gallardo helps Brewers beat Mets

Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- An overeager baserunner helped Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo finish his challenging season on a positive note.
Gallardo's final pitch of the year skipped away from catcher Martin Maldonado, who retrieved it, raced to the plate and tagged Daniel Murphy attempting to score the tying run in the sixth inning. It led to the Brewers' 4-2 win over the New York Mets on Friday in front of an announced crowd of 25,276 at Citi Field.
Gallardo (12-10) allowed two runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out six over six innings as he won for the fourth time in eight starts since coming off the disabled list Aug. 17.
The victory ensured Gallardo would finish with a winning record for the sixth time in as many full big league seasons. He went 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA in his final eight starts after going 7-9 with a 4.91 ERA in his first 23 starts.
"You always want to have a winning record, no matter what ... especially the way the year started," Gallardo said. "To come back and be able to achieve that, it's a positive note. It's something to look forward to in the offseason."
Gallardo allowed just two Mets to get into scoring position in the first five innings before four straight batters reached against him with one out in the sixth.
Justin Turner's infield single scored Lucas Duda, who began the rally with a single, and Andrew Brown walked to load the bases. Gallardo struck out Juan Lagares before bouncing a 1-2 curveball to Travis d'Arnaud.
Murphy, who followed Duda with a ground-rule double, briefly hesitated before breaking for home, where Maldonado was waiting with the ball, Murphy tried hurdling Maldonado but was tagged while he was in the air.
"I know he got in trouble in the last inning, started missing with his location the last inning, but his curveball was really good today," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "It was good to see him finish up that way and also really good to see him get out of that last inning. I really didn't want to go get him, so it was really nice for him to get out of that."
Murphy said he planned to race for home if Gallardo bounced a curveball, but he regretted trying to make a run for it after his initial delay.
"I was looking for a 'dirt ball' and I got one," Murphy said, "I just didn't trust the first read, and once I hesitated, I was out. Probably should have shut it down, but I didn't."
Even with the strong finish, Gallardo -- who labored for much of the season after pitching for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic -- finished with a career-high 4.18 ERA and failed to strike out 200 batters for the first time since 2008. He also threw just 170 2/3 innings, which ended a streak of four straight seasons in which he threw at least 185 frames.
The left hamstring injury Gallardo suffered July 31 ended up being a blessing in disguise for the right-hander, who said he felt refreshed as a result of the 18 days he spent on the shelf.
"Once I went on the DL, I just kind of relaxed, just went back to as simple as, see the glove and throw the ball there," Gallardo said. "Believe it or not, it's one of those things, that's really what I've focused on: Just throw the ball down in the zone. And go from there, see what happens, and then the next thing you know, all of a sudden, everything falls into place."
Rob Wooten, Brandon Kintzler and Jim Henderson combined to allow just one hit over the final three innings. Henderson earned his 28th save with a perfect ninth inning.
The Brewers (73-87) scored all the runs they would need in the first, when Norichika Aoki hit a leadoff homer and Khris Davis followed three batters later with a two-run shot. Maldonado provided an insurance run with a homer in the seventh.
Aoki and Davis both finished 2-for-4, though Davis left after straining his left hamstring and his right quad while trying to leg out an infield single in the eighth. Roenicke said Davis was likely just dehydrated and hoped Davis would be able to play on Saturday.
Lagares had a sacrifice fly in the second inning, while Duda and Turner each had two hits for the Mets (73-87).
Mets starter Carlos Torres (4-6) took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits and one walk while striking out seven over six innings. He retired 17 of the final 20 batters he faced.
NOTES: Mets 3B David Wright, who left Thursday's series opener after he was hit in the head by a pitch from Johnny Hellweg, sat out Friday with a sore right thumb suffered as he fell to the ground. Wright passed all concussion tests and is hopeful of playing again this weekend. ... LHP Jonathon Niese will start the season finale on Sunday. ...Brewers SS Jean Segura, who hasn't played since Sept. 18 because of a strained hamstring, could start Saturday. Segura entered Friday tied for the National League lead in stolen bases with the Mets' Eric Young. ... Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez missed his second straight game with a sore left knee. Roenicke said Ramirez had a chance to play this weekend.

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