MILWAUKEE (AP) — Christian Yelich hit one of Milwaukee’s three home runs and Eric Lauer turned in a much-needed strong outing for the Brewers in their 5-1 win over the New York Mets on Friday night.
Kolten Wong and Willy Adames also went deep for the Brewers, who reduced their magic number to two for clinching their first NL Central title since 2018. They can wrap it up Saturday with a win over the Mets and a loss by St. Louis to the Cubs in Chicago
Milwaukee had dropped five in a row since securing its fourth consecutive playoff berth last Saturday, including four defeats at the hands of the Cardinals.
The Brewers have a seven-game lead in the division over the Cardinals, who swept a doubleheader from the Cubs on Friday to tie a franchise record with their 14th consecutive win.
The Brewers have won 12 of their last 13 against the Mets in Milwaukee, including seven in a row.
Lauer (7-5) settled down after a shaky first inning that required 39 pitches. He retired 18 of 19 batters during one stretch and held the Mets hitless after the first until Jeff McNeil’s infield single in the seventh.
Lauer gave up one run and three hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out nine, matching a career high, in a 114-pitch outing that came with the Brewers dealing with a depleted bullpen.
Brent Suter and Josh Hader closed it out.
The Mets jumped on Lauer immediately. Brandon Nimmo led off the game with a triple and scored on Francisco Lindor’s groundout. The Mets loaded the bases with two outs, but Lauer struck out James McCann to limit the damage.
Wong led off with a home run for the Brewers in the bottom half offrookie Tylor Megill (3-6) to even the score. It was Wong’s ninth career leadoff homer, seven of which have come this season.
Milwaukee broke it open in the third against Megill. Wong drew a leadoff walk and Adames and Yelich followed with back-to-back home runs to give the Brewers a 4-1 lead. It was the first home run for Yelich since a two-homer game on Aug. 21. Adames, who has missed time recently due to injury, hadn’t gone deep since Aug. 18. He has 23 home runs for the season.
Megill gave up four runs and five hits in four innings. He walked four and struck out two.
The Brewers’ lead grew to 5-1 in the fifth when Yelich lined a leadoff triple into the left-field corner off reliever Brad Hand and scored on Avisaíl García’s sacrifice fly.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard will make a second appearance with Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday. Syndergaard hasn’t pitched in a major league game since 2019. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery in March 2020. Mets manager Luis Rojas said he’s unsure if this will be Syndergaard’s last rehab outing. “We’ll see how he feels,” Rojas said. “That’ll dictate if it’s the last one.” … New York ace Jacob deGrom, who hasn’t pitched since July 7 because of an elbow injury, threw a 25-pitch bullpen.
Brewers: Relief pitcher Devin Williams remained unavailable with right calf soreness. Williams said he felt pain behind his knee and the upper part of his calf when a section of grass gave way while he was running in the outfield. “I think it’s a minor thing and I’ll be back in a few days,” he said.
Mets: Rich Hill (6-7, 3.87 ERA) will make his 10th career start against the Brewers. Hill is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in four games (three starts) in Milwaukee.
Brewers: Corbin Burnes (10-4, 2.34) has 221 strikeouts and 32 walks in 158 innings. Burnes is 8-0 with a 2.34 ERA in his last 18 starts.
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Rich Rovito, The Associated Press