Jay Bruce, as he has done most of this season, picked up the Mets with a game-winning line drive single to center to give them a 5-4 victory in 12 innings over Milwaukee.
Bruce’s single snapped an 0-for-5 start to the game.
“I’m not trying to do too much,” was how Bruce described his approach. “I’m not trying to muscle up and power the ball.”
CABRERA: Error leads to long game. (AP)
Bruce’s hit made a winner out of reliever Josh Smoker, who struck out four in three innings.
The game lasted 12 innings because Asdrubal Cabrera dropped what would have been an inning-ending pop-up with the bases loaded in the seventh inning that allowed two runs to score and tie the game.
PILL TERRIFIC: Tyler Pill was under constant duress, but pitched into the sixth inning and left the game with the lead. The 27-year-old made the first start of his career and showed tremendous grit and guile and should have come away with a victory.
Unfortunately, there’s not a stat for “should have.’’
He had every reason to be happy with his effort, and pitched worthy of getting another start while Steven Matz and Seth Lugo remain on the disabled list.
Pill, the ninth different pitcher to start this year for the Mets, pitched out of trouble in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings, stranding a runner in scoring position each time. He was most impressive in the fifth when he left Eric Thames on third after a leadoff triple.
Pill was shaky in the first, hitting the leadoff hitter and giving up a single to Thames. He was on the verge of escaping when he gave up a double to Travis Shaw on a bouncer that just got over the glove of leaping first baseman Lucas Duda. Had Duda lined up one step deeper he would have made the play.
The Mets gave Pill a 2-1 lead in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Curtis Granderson and Cabrera, and a bases-loaded walk to Jose Reyes on what could be argued as a gift call from plate umpire Manny Gonzalez on ball three.
Pill gave up one run on three walks, six hits and four strikeouts in 5.1 innings.
BULLPEN, CABRERA BETRAY PILL: Fernando Salas relieved Pill and got out of the sixth, but he walked two hitters and gave up single to load the bases in the seventh.
I realize manager Terry Collins doesn’t have many options, but you never let a reliever walk two hitters in the seventh.
Enter Jerry Blevins, who walked in a run, then appeared to get out of the inning when Cabrera, channeling his inner Luis Castillo, dropped what should have been an inning-ending pop-up by Jeff Bandy to allow two runs to score and tie the game.
Truth be told, had Domingo Santana, the runner on first been hustling, he could have scored.
EXTRA INNINGS: Neil Walker had two hits giving him 1,000 for his career. … Salas, who turned 32, hit for the first time in four years and collected his first career hit. … Duda remains hot with a two-run homer in the sixth. Over his last eight games he has four homers and 11 RBI.
UP NEXT: Jacob deGrom (4-1, 3.23) will start tonight against Milwaukee. DeGrom is 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA is six starts against the Brewers. DeGrom is coming off a season-high 8.1 innings in the Mets’ 8-1 victory at Pittsburgh, May 26.