Yovani Gallardo turned in his best start of the season for the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night, probably his best in more than a year, and it was gone just like that.
Gallardo turned the game over to the bullpen after 7.2 scoreless innings—his longest scoreless outing since allowing no runs in eight innings on June 10, 2013, at Miami—and a 2-0 lead over the New York Mets.
Campbell was the first Met to reach base since the fourth inning, a string of 14 consecutive hitters.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez came in for the top of the ninth, looking for his 30th save of the season.
He didn’t get it.
Instead, the Mets made a stunning—and rapid—comeback, scoring three runs in just eight pitches and stealing a 3-2 victory at Miller Park.
Daniel Murphy, whose error in the sixth led to Milwaukee’s first run, laced K-Rod’s first pitch down the left-field line for a leadoff double and David Wright followed by hitting a flare into short left field to drive in New York’s first run.
Lucas Duda then hammered Rodriguez’s next offering into the right-field seats for his 17th home run of the season, his second in as many nights at Miller Park, to put the Mets up 3-2.
Milwaukee got a runner on against Jenrry Mejia in the bottom of the ninth when pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy—taking a night off behind the plate—worked a leadoff walk. But Logan Schafer, batting for Rodriguez, couldn’t get a sacrifice bunt down and struck out when he bunted a 1-2 pitch foul, and Carlos Gomez and Rickie Weeks followed with strikeouts as the Brewers’ four-game winning streak came to a sudden, shocking end.
Milwaukee (58-46) couldn’t take advantage of losses by the other contenders in the National League Central and instead maintained its three-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates, while the Cincinnati Reds remained six games back.
Gallardo was absolutely masterful for the Brewers Friday night, allowing four singles in 7.2 innings, striking out eight and allowing no walks.
For five innings, Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler matched him zero for zero, but a defensive lapse by the National League’s fourth-leading defensive club and some hustle by a guy not known for his speed helped the Brewers take a 1-0 lead.
Weeks led off with a walk, but looked certain to be erased when Ryan Braun hit what looked to be a double-play grounder right at Murphy. But the Mets second baseman inexplicably pulled up his glove too soon and the ball scooted right between his legs into right field as Weeks chugged around to third.
Aramis Ramirez followed with a grounder to short. Braun was out at second but Ramirez busted it down the line and beat the relay as Weeks scored.
The Brewers finally got some good swings against Wheeler in the seventh. With two outs, Gomez hammered a ball to right-center that just got over the glove of center fielder Juan Lagares for his 15th home run of the season and a 2-0 Milwaukee lead. Weeks followed with a double off the top of the wall in nearly the same spot Gomez’s homer cleared.
That ended Wheeler’s night, but the young right-hander allowed only two runs, one earned, on three hits in 6.2 innings while striking out nine and walking two.
Right-hander Vic Black got Braun to fly out to end the inning.
Carlos Torres (5-4) worked a scoreless eighth, allowing a hit, and got the win for the Mets. Mejia earned his 14th save.
Rodriguez (4-4) was lit up for three runs on four hits before striking out two to get out of the inning as his ERA jumped from 2.61 to 3.10. It was just his fourth blown save in 33 opportunities this season. He was looking to reach the 30-save plateau for the first time since he recorded 35 with the Mets in 2009.
The Brewers were held to just four hits, with Gomez going 2-for-5.
Milwaukee will look for a bounce-back win Saturday at 6:10 p.m., with Wily Peralta (11-6, 3.58 ERA) taking the hill for the Brewers against Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese (5-5, 3.13 ERA).