MLB's best gets back on track, drills Mets


• Summary: The Brewers used a five-run eighth inning to swing back into the win column after the Mets snatched the Brewers' six-game win streak from them in the opener of this three-game series.


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• Turning point: Tony Gwynn Jr. kicked off the Brewers' eighth-inning onslaught with a bases-loaded RBI single for his third hit of the game. J.J. Hardy added more punch with his second career grand slam to put the Brewers comfortably ahead 9-3.

• Figure this: Hardy's grand slam was his third homer in four games.

• Quotable: "It's a big win, but not necessarily because it's against the Mets. It's very early." -- Tony Gwynn Jr.

• Elias Says: Hardy's slam gave him a share of the NL's home-run lead. You have to go back to 1986 to find the last time that a shortstop had at least a share of the league's home-run lead this late in a season. Hubie Brooks, then a shortstop with the Expos, had a piece of the lead as late as June 8 of that year.

-- news services

Brewers 12, Mets 3

NEW YORK (AP) -- With an impressive combination of big hits and relentless baserunning, the Milwaukee Brewers showed they're good enough to beat up on one of the best teams in the National League.

J.J. Hardy hit a grand slam and Tony Gwynn Jr. played a fantastic all-around game to back a solid pitching performance by Ben Sheets and lead Milwaukee past the sloppy New York Mets 12-3 on Saturday.

"They waxed us all over the field. They played hungry," New York's David Wright said. "They're a good team, no doubt about that. They do everything well. If they stay healthy, I don't see why they won't be one of the top teams in the National League when it's said and done."

Bill Hall added three hits, Gwynn scored three times from the leadoff spot and the Brewers got two key runs on a shallow sacrifice fly that turned into a messy double play for the Mets. Milwaukee has won 11 of 13 to improve baseball's best record to 25-11.

Some think the unheralded Brewers (16-5 at home) have fattened up on a soft schedule in the weak NL Central. But after a 5-4 loss in the series opener that snapped a six-game winning streak, Milwaukee overwhelmed the defending NL East champs with 16 hits and an aggressive approach on the bases.

"It's a big win, but not necessarily because it's against the Mets. It's very early," Gwynn said.

The Brewers will try to take the rubber game Sunday with Chris Capuano (5-0, 2.31 ERA) on the mound against Oliver Perez.

Sheets (3-2) yielded three runs and four hits in six innings, and Matt Wise worked a perfect seventh to preserve a 4-3 lead.

Two hit batters helped Milwaukee load the bases in the eighth, and Gwynn hit an RBI single for his career-best third hit. Hardy followed with his second career slam and third homer in four games to make it 9-3. It came off rookie reliever Joe Smith, who gave up his first runs in 18 major league outings.

Pinch-hitter Corey Hart added a two-run triple in the ninth, and Hardy hit a sacrifice fly to give him five RBIs. The 24-year-old has 11 homers and 34 RBIs.

The Brewers, who haven't lost consecutive games since dropping a season-worst three in a row from April 4-7, matched a season high for runs.

Pinch-hitter David Newhan homered for the Mets (22-13), who had won three straight and seven of nine. New York left fielder Moises Alou came out in the seventh with a strained left quadriceps and went for an MRI exam.

"I don't think it's anything real serious. He might be down for a couple of days," manager Willie Randolph said.

Making his fourth start of the season, and first in right field instead of center, Gwynn flashed a rocket arm in the fourth inning. Wright hit a drive off the base of the right-field fence for New York's first hit but was thrown out at second when Gwynn made a perfect throw on the fly from the corner.

Gwynn opened the game with a single and scored on Hall's single, the eighth first-inning run Mike Pelfrey (0-5) has allowed in six starts this year.

Prince Fielder doubled leading off the third and scored on Johnny Estrada's single, then Milwaukee made it 4-0 in the fourth with the help of some poor defense by the Mets.

"I thought we were a little lackluster early," Randolph said. "Every once in a while you're going to have a stinker, and this was one of them."

Gwynn's routine grounder to second turned into an infield single when first baseman Carlos Delgado broke for the ball and couldn't get back to the bag in time. Pelfrey was late covering, and Gwynn beat Ruben Gotay's throw.

A walk to Hardy loaded the bases with one out and Fielder hit a high popup to short right. Gotay called for the ball while backpedaling, but Shawn Green acknowledged he should have come in harder and called him off. When an off-balance Gotay made the catch, Craig Counsell tagged up from third and scored easily as Gwynn dashed to third.

Gotay's lollipop throw to the plate left Hardy in a rundown between first and second, which allowed Gwynn to score before Hardy was tagged out. By the time the unusual sequence was over, the Brewers had two runs on a double play and a 4-0 lead. Fielder was credited with a sacrifice fly and one RBI.

"Craig read it perfectly," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "That's stuff we work on, trying to help ourselves offensively with our baserunning. It worked perfectly."

New York finally got something going in the fifth. Green hit his first triple with the Mets and scored on a wild pitch. Newhan hit a two-run homer, his first extra-base hit for New York, to cut it to 4-3.

Hurt by some hard luck, Pelfrey allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings. He is winless in eight starts since July 18 at Cincinnati, his second big league start.

"Overall I thought I threw the ball decent," Pelfrey said. "It's tough. I'm 0-5 right now. I'm doing the best I can to stay positive. I know eventually this is going to turn around."

Game notes
It was Newhan's second career pinch-hit homer. The other came on June 18, 2004, with Baltimore at Colorado. ... Hardy's other grand slam was Sept. 7, 2005, at Cincinnati.