Steven Matz’s strong outing sends Mets to 5-0 victory over Brewers
MILWAUKEE — In his first start back from the disabled list, Zach Davies couldn’t get past Brandon Nimmo.
Davies, activated earlier in the day, gave up two doubles and a triple to the Mets’ leadoff hitter and New York went on to a 5-0 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park on Thursday night.
“It wasn’t crisp, but he was all right,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He struggled with Nimmo. Nimmo’s the guy that really just gave him all the problems. Other than that, I thought he pitched the rest of the lineup pretty darn good. He left some pitches in the middle of the plate to him. He really accounted for all the scoring, or contributed to it big time. It was really just one hitter that gave him a problem.”
The Brewers, who were 8-2 in their previous 10 games and entered a National League-best 31-19 overall, were shut out for the ninth time, most in the majors. The last time they were shut out more times was 16 in 2015, a team that went 68-94.
Milwaukee had eight runners on base in six innings against Steven Matz, who won for the first time in six starts. The Brewers stranded six in the first three innings, including the bases loaded in the third.
“We had a couple opportunities early in the game, in the second inning and the third inning we had some rallies going,” Counsell said. “The third inning was probably our best shot.”
Davies, who had been sidelined with right rotator cuff inflammation, allowed four runs on six hits, striking out two and walking two in his first start since April 29. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in a 24-pitch first inning when he knocked down a scorching comebacker from Devin Mesoraco and recovered for the inning-ending out at first.
“The command wasn’t there pretty much all night,” said Davies, who was 17-9 last season. “I got away with it the first four innings, but in the fifth inning I gave up three straight hits, and it turned my night into a not-so-good night. Something to work on, but now it’s no excuses. You’re back in game action, and it’ll change going forward.”
Nimmo set up the Mets’ first run when he led off the third with a triple into the right-field corner and then came home on Wilmer Flores’ sac fly to right.
In the Mets’ three-run fifth, Amed Rosario opened with a single to left and Nimmo followed with a line double to right. Asdrubal Cabrera doubled home both runners to make it 3-0, ending Davies’ outing after 81 pitches. Flores greeted reliever Dan Jennings with an RBI single to left.
Nimmo also doubled to open the first, but was forced out at third. The Mets eventually loaded the bases, but Davies escaped when he knocked down Mesoraco’s shot back through the box.
The Brewers’ bullpen fared a little better against Nimmo, but still couldn’t keep him off the bases. Nimmo walked in the sixth and reached on an infield single in the eighth.
Matz (2-3) matched his longest outing of the season. Both of his victories this season have come against the NL Central-leading Brewers.
“I’m feeling more comfortable out there and am able to attack the zone a little bit more,” Matz said.
Being injury free has been important, said Matz, who had surgery last August to reposition and decompress the ulnar nerve in his pitching elbow.
“I’m just very thankful that I’m healthy,” Matz said.
From the infirmary
Mets outfielder Juan Lagares had surgery Wednesday in Manhattan to repair a complete tear of the left big toe plantar plate.
Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun was re-instated from the disabled list and started in left field. He had a single in four at-bats. ... Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw got the night off to rest.
Buhl gets honor
Bob Buhl, the hard-throwing right-hander, who along with Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette comprised the 1957 World Series champion Milwaukee Braves’ “Big Three,” earned a spot alongside those teammates on Thursday when he was added to the Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor at Miller Park.
Buhl was 109-72 with a 3.27 ERA in parts of 10 seasons for the Braves from 1953-62, making the National League All-Star team in 1960.
His finest regular season was 1957, when he was 18-7 with a 2.74 ERA.
On Friday, the Mets will send out Noah Syndergaard (4-1, 2.91 ERA), who is 2-0 with a 0.49 ERA in three career starts versus the Brewers. He struck out eight straight Milwaukee batters in an April 15 start.
The Brewers will counter with Junior Guerra (3-3, 2.98), who is 1-0 with a 0.71 ERA in two career starts against the Mets.