Shaun Marcum turned in two winning seasons in Milwaukee. He hopes his first return to Miller Park since leaving the Brewers helps him earn a victory when he takes the ball for the New York Mets on Saturday night.
Marcum (1-9, 5.03 ERA) was a combined 20-11 for the Brewers the past two years with ERAs under 4.00 in both, but he hasn't been nearly as effective in 2013.
The Mets (36-47) have picked up wins in his last two starts after dropping nine of the first 11. Marcum followed up eight scoreless innings in winning his previous start by allowing three runs in six innings of a 5-4, 13-inning victory over the Chicago White Sox on Monday.
Marcum, who would have the lowest run-support average in the league if he had enough innings to qualify, has gotten 19 runs in his 13 starts.
His fortunes could change Saturday as the Mets appear to be coming around offensively, recording double-digit hits in five straight games, the first time they've done that since July 2011.
New York's Kirk Nieuwenhuis set career highs with four hits and five RBIs to help power Friday's 12-5 win. He's gone 8 for 13 over the past four games."I don't know if I have ever done it. It feels great," Nieuwenhuis said. "I have just been trying to stay more direct to the ball. Other than that, relaxing at the plate."
The Mets have won three straight and nine of 13 away from home, posting a 2.45 ERA while holding opponents to a .190 batting average with runners in scoring position.
Milwaukee has lost eight of 10, though its bats are also beginning to heat up. The Brewers (34-51) have scored 23 runs in the past five games after managing 11 in the previous five.
The Brewers' fielding continues to be a problem, however, as they made three more errors Friday to give them 13 in the past 10 games."We sure didn't play well," manager Ron Roenicke said.
Yovani Gallardo (6-8, 4.78) looks to recover from his worst start of the season Monday, when he allowed a season-high eight runs in three innings of a 10-5 loss at Washington.
The right-hander has posted a 6.64 ERA in his last four starts versus New York, which has batted .326 against him in that span.
David Wright is 3 for 16 with eight strikeouts against Gallardo.
|New York Mets|
|June 22, 2013||Lucas Duda||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal|
|June 21, 2013||Jonathon Niese||15-Day DL||Partially torn left rotator cuff|
|June 20, 2013||Jonathon Niese||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder discomfort|
|June 19, 2013||Scott Atchison||15-Day DL||Right groin strain|
|June 18, 2013||Scott Atchison||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore groin|
|June 17, 2013||Justin Turner||15-Day DL||Intercostal strain|
|July 02, 2013||Wily Peralta||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|June 24, 2013||Alfredo Figaro||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|June 23, 2013||Carlos Gomez||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder sprain|
|June 10, 2013||Ryan Braun||15-Day DL||Right thumb contusion|
|June 04, 2013||Marco Estrada||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|May 25, 2013||Jim Henderson||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- After getting shelled in his previous start, Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo decided to do a little damage himself on Saturday night.
Gallardo singled, doubled, scored two runs and executed a successful sacrifice bunt off former teammate Shaun Marcum in a key spot to help Milwaukee hold off the New York Mets 7-6.
"I just try to put the ball in the play," Gallardo said. "The first base hit didn't feel too good on my hands. I hit it off the end of the bat and I just got a lucky break."
Gallardo said the double he laced in the fourth inning wasn't in the location Marcum wanted it.
"The slider he threw me was up. He made a mistake," Gallardo said. "I was able to put a good swing on it."
Milwaukee scored a key run in the sixth with Gallardo in the thick of things. After Logan Schafer led off with a single, Gallardo executed a two-strike sacrifice bunt. Marcum fielded the ball cleanly but his throw was dropped by second-baseman Daniel Murphy , who was covering first. The ball skipped into right field, allowing Schafer to race around the bases and beat a throw to the plate.
"I was just trying to get it down, especially with two strikes," Gallardo said of his bunt. "I saw it hit the ground and I just started running to first. Then I saw the throw was kind of wide of first base."
On the mound, Gallardo (7-8), who has been the subject of recent trade speculation, scattered six hits over six innings and allowed four earned runs, striking out six and walking three. In previous outing Monday against Washington, Gallardo gave up nine hits and eight earned runs in three innings.
Gallardo gave up one hit through the first four innings Saturday before running into some trouble in the fifth and sixth.
"I think he started to get a little tired," said Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy , who homered and drove in two runs. "I think he really threw well the first four innings. His last two he scuffled a little, but for the most part it was a solid start and he gave us a chance to win. That's most important."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke liked what he saw from Gallardo early in the game.
"Yovani started off really well then lost some command," Roenicke said.
Francisco Rodriguez recorded his eighth save of the season and 302nd of his career despite giving up a two-out solo home run to Marlon Byrd in the ninth.
The Brewers jumped on Marcum (1-10) for a run in the first inning. Lucroy's two-out single scored Norichika Aoki , who led off the game with an infield hit.
Milwaukee added two runs in the second. Schafer singled, moved to third on Gallardo's single and scored on Aoki's base hit. Jean Segura followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Gallardo.
Lucroy extended the Brewers lead to 4-0 with a one-out, solo home run to left field in the third.
"(Marcum) left a lot of balls up, more than he normally does," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's really a change-speed guy that keeps the ball down. The ball to Lucroy he left up. He left a breaking ball out over the plate in the first inning. That's just not where he usually pitches."
Gallardo helped himself again in the fourth, leading off with a double off the right field wall and scoring on Segura's one-out single.
The Mets broke through for two runs against Gallardo in the fifth. John Buck led off with a home run off the right field foul pole. Daniel Murphy had a run-scoring double later in the inning.
The Mets slashed the Brewers' lead to 5-4 on Buck's two-run single in the sixth.
New York cut the lead to 6-5 in the seventh on Byrd's sacrifice fly. Schafer's run-scoring double, his third hit of the game, put Milwaukee ahead 7-5.
Byrd's home run in the ninth pulled the Mets within a run, but Rodriguez struck out Kirk Nieuwenhuis to end the game.
Marcum, who compiled a 20-11 record while pitching for Milwaukee in 2011 and 2012, allowed 11 hits and five earned runs over five innings. He walked one and struck out three.
"I fell behind in some counts and this isn't the most pitcher-friendly park to do that in so it makes it rough," Marcum said. "It was nice to come back here. I enjoyed my two years here. Obviously, I wish the results were better."
NOTES: The Brewers and Mets each will have two representatives on the NL All-Star team. The Mets' David Wright will start at third base after winning fan balloting at the position. Teammate Matt Harvey was named to the squad's pitching staff. Brewers OF Carlos Gomez and SS Jean Segura were selected as reserves. ... Brewers OF Ryan Braun took batting practice on the field Saturday after taking swings in a batting cage on Friday. Braun has been sidelined about a month with a thumb injury. ... The Mets' Ike Davis stole his first base of the season in the second inning.