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.”
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.’’
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.