are still in first place despite a rough month. The Mets haven't been so lucky.
Braun hit a three-run double and scored on
's throwing error, sending the Brewers to a 6-3 victory on Tuesday night that extended New York's losing streak to a season-high
Afterward, the injury-depleted Mets held a closed-door meeting that lasted almost 30 minutes. Manager
said he was the only speaker.
''We just had a little family talk - a little private family discussion,'' Manuel explained. ''Just to get things in order,
a lot of things.''
Fielder added a 452-foot solo homer and fill-in starter
earned his first major league win for the NL Central leaders, who have won four of five. The Brewers have a two-game lead
over St. Louis despite a 12-15 mark in June.
''It couldn't get much better,'' Braun said. ''We have a tough schedule up until the All-Star break. We've got these guys
one more day, go to Chicago and then we've got the Dodgers and Cardinals.
''It's definitely not going to be easy and I think where we finish out the rest of the first half is probably going to be
pretty indicative of how the rest of our season will go.''
The Mets hope their fortunes change before they fall out of postseason contention. They went 9-18 in June, their worst month
in nearly six years. At 37-39, the third-place Mets are three games behind first-place Philadelphia in the NL East and only
a game in front of Atlanta.
They head into July still missing injured stars
(calf, hamstring) and
(hip), but Manuel said the team has enough pieces to win without its missing stars.
''I do, and hopefully everybody in here feels the same way. And if they don't, we don't want them here,'' he said.
Even Santana (9-6) couldn't slow the Mets' spiral after a wacky fourth inning that included an ejection and an easy fly ball
that dropped in center field for a double. The ace left-hander also walked two, including Burns on four pitches, and made
a wild error.
A night after Brewers third baseman
dropped a popup that cost Milwaukee two runs, Mets center fielder
fell flat in the outfield in the bottom of the fourth.
With a runner on and one out,
hit a deep fly but Martinez slipped on the grass and then carved up a divot during his slip while the ball landed untouched
about two feet away, giving Hart a double.
Santana then walked J.J. Hardy on four pitches to load the bases, and pitching coach
was ejected by plate umpire Jim Wolf for arguing after a mound visit.
Braun, who drove in Milwaukee's first run with a single in the third, lined an 0-2 pitch over left fielder
's head, and the relay throw from shortstop
bounced away from catcher
before he could tag Hardy.
Santana was backing up the play and tried to get Braun, who had rounded third, but Santana's throw went well over the head
of Wright, allowing Braun to score easily to make it 5-2.
''When you face a great pitcher like that you need a break or two, and their guy falling down, all those things obviously
came back to haunt them,'' said Braun, who is 7 for 13 against Santana. ''Johan's not going to make too many mistakes and
he's not going to give up too many runs.''
Santana, loser of three of his last four starts, fell to the ground, staring off in disbelief. Martinez, a prized prospect,
declined to talk afterward.
''I threw some good pitches and didn't get the calls, and that changed the whole ballgame,'' Santana said.
In the seventh, Santana gave up Fielder's 20th home run, a long shot to the back of the second deck in right field, before
exiting. He allowed nine hits, four walks and five earned runs.
''The things we talked about were all positive things, trying to get back on track and play better baseball,'' Santana said.
But the runs he gave up were plenty for Burns (1-1), who went 6 2-3 innings to get his first win in place of injured starter
''As soon as I got in (to the clubhouse) it felt like about 100 beers on my head,'' Burns said. ''It was the greatest beer
bath I've ever had.''
Burns' only costly mistake came when Wright hit a two-run homer to give the Mets an early lead. Martinez added his first career
homer with two outs in the ninth off reliever
''That's a big win. That's something to be proud of,'' catcher
said of Burns' effort. ''That's a pretty good first win over one of the best pitchers to ever play the game.''
NOTES: The Mets went 7-19 in September 2003. ... It was Wright's first homer since June 9.