Yelich’s 14th homer helps Brewers beat Mets 8-6
NEW YORK — After Christian Yelich helped put Milwaukee ahead, Josh Hader prevented the Mets from coming back.
Yelich hit his major league-leading 14th home run, tying the record for most before May 1, and Hader needed just 20 pitches to retire six batters Saturday night and close out the Brewers’ 8-6 win over the New York.
Yelich’s fourth-inning homer off Noah Syndergaard (1-3) was the first on the road this season for the reigning NL MVP. His 14 homers matched Albert Pujols (2006) and Alex Rodriguez (2007) for the most through the first full month of the season.
“That’s pretty cool. Obviously, those guys are pretty good baseball players,” Yelich said. “I haven’t really been thinking about it too much. Just head down, grinding. To be up there with those guys is definitely an honor.”
Yelich finished with three hits, a walk and two RBIs, raising his average to .350, and he stole the 100th base of his big league career. He is batting .362 with 39 homers, 101 RBIs and 16 stolen bases in 93 games since last season’s All-Star break.
“You enjoy watching players like this,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I guess when you see a guy do it a lot, you lose some of the surprise.”
Hader, who hadn’t pitched since allowing a go-ahead homer to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger last weekend, entered with two on and none out in the eighth and needed just 11 pitches to strike out Todd Frazier, Wilson Ramos and Jeff McNeil.
Hader struck out Pete Alonso and Robinson Canó on three pitches apiece in the ninth before throwing a first-pitch ball to Michael Conforto. The Mets’ cleanup hitter grounded out, preventing Hader from becoming the first pitcher since Ugueth Urbina on April 19, 1998, to strike out six in a two-inning save.
“He kind of calmed the game down there a little bit,” Yelich said. “But that’s what he does. We weren’t really expecting anything different.”
Hader has a 3.61 ERA in 34 games since the All-Star break, striking out 83 while walking 15 over 47 1/3 innings.
“This is not like an abnormal Josh outing,” Counsell said. “He’s done it many times before.”
Hader had to close out what once appeared to be an easy win for the Brewers, who raced out to a 6-1 lead after six innings thanks in part to Eric Thames’ two-run single in the third and Ben Gamel’s homer in the fifth.
Brandon Woodruff (3-1) allowed one run on six hits in five innings, leaving with a 6-1 lead.
New York closed to 6-5 in the seventh when Amed Rosario hit a leadoff homer against Alex Wilson and Alonso hit a three-run homer against Alex Claudio, the rookie’s ninth home run. New York could have had a bigger inning but Travis d’Arnaud made the first out when he was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double.
Yelich singled home a run against Jeurys Familia in the eighth and Yasmani Grandal hit an RBI grounder that boosted the Brewers’ lead to 8-5.
New York has lost a season-high three straight and dropped to 13-13 following a 9-4 start. Syndergaard gave up five runs, 10 hits and three walks in five innings on his bobblehead night. His ERA rose from 5.90 to 6.35.
“When it rains it pours, whether it’s just some induced soft contact or just something that’ll find a hole,” Syndergaard said. “I had a quite a bit of those tonight, but also they tagged me for two home runs.”
Milwaukee’s first run scored after Moustakas hit a slow roller to third baseman J.D. Davis, whose throw to first beat Moustakas only or the ball to pop out of Alonso’s glove. First base umpire Todd Tichenor signaled out as Lorenzo Cain took a wide turn at second. Alonso picked up the ball, jogged toward second and threw to McNeil, coming in to cover second. The ball sailed off the glove of a leaping McNeil and into left field for an error as Cain scored.
“Jeff is coming in and Cain didn’t see Jeff coming in behind him,” Alonso said. “He was just coming in to cover the bag, and if I would have made a better throw, we probably would have got him.”
Brewers: Woodruff ducked in the second inning to to avoid a line drive off the bat of Davis and was hit on his right shoulder. He was visited by a trainer and remained in the game. … RHP Freddy Peralta (shoulder) began a rehab stint with Double-A Biloxi and allowed three runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Mets: INF Jed Lowrie (left knee) continues to hit at extended spring training.
Brewers LHP Gio González (season debut), who signed a one-year deal Saturday, is 11-2 with a 1.75 ERA in 17 starts at Citi Field. Mets LHP Steven Matz (2-1) has a 3.27 ERA in his last 17 starts at Citi Field.