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Brewers recap 5/29

May 29, 2010

Hart pumps two more homers to beat Mets

MILWAUKEE — Less than 24 hours removed from his first career walk-off home run, Corey Hart picked up right where he left off on Saturday night.

With two home runs and six RBIs on the night, Hart carried the Brewers to an 8-6 victory over the Mets at Miller Park.

Hart crushed a 1-1 slider in the first from Mets starter Fernando Nieve (1-3), a no-doubter over the bullpen in left for his first career grand slam. Two innings later, Hart drove an 0-1 pitch from Oliver Perez out to left, a two-run shot, for his third homer in as many at-bats.

After hitting just three home runs over the first six weeks of the season, Hart has nine blasts and 19 RBIs in his last 14 games.

“I didn’t even want to sit down next to him, these uniforms are hot enough,” Brewers manager Ken Macha joked. “Guys kept telling me when he gets hot, he can carry the club. Well, he’s been doing that as of late.”

On Negro League Tribute Night at Miller Park, with the Brewers wearing the uniforms of the Milwaukee Bears and the Mets dressed as the New York Cubans, Hart became the 15th hitter in franchise history to belt homers in three consecutive at-bats and the first to do so since Geoff Jenkins’ three-homer game on May 21, 2003.

His six RBIs tied a career high for Hart, who leads the team with 12 home runs on the season. It was also his eighth career multi-homer game and second during his current hot streak.

“It’s all Dale,” said Hart, referring to Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum. “Dale’s worked really hard to change some things around for me and help my mindset. What he did is help me get the ball in the air.

“I’ve had stretches where I’ve hit balls hard, but now the ones I’m hitting are getting good backspin and they’re carrying. I keep doing what he’s telling me, and so far it’s working.”

Nieve (1-3) took the loss for the Mets, as he lasted just two innings, surrendering five runs on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

But after Hart put the Brewers up, 7-3, with his second homer in the third inning, the Brewers, too, had to go the rest of the way with the bullpen on the mound.

Starter Manny Parra lasted just three innings for the Brewers, giving up three runs on six hits with three walks — one intentional — and two strikeouts.

“I was just out of sync,” Parra said. “It made it really hard to command my fastball. … For me, my game is commanding my fastball. I do that and I’ll be just fine. But the days like today where I’m out of sync and struggling with the fastball command, it’s going to make for a tough day.”

Fortunately for the Brewers, three members of their bullpen delivered excellent performances on the night.

After Marco Estrada relieved Parra and proceeded to allow three runs on one hit and one walk in just 1 2/3 innings, Todd Coffey (2-1) came in and shut the Mets down. But things didn’t start so smoothly for the reliever.

Before he threw his first pitch, Coffey was forced to switch gloves because the color of the glove — which he’s been using all season — was too light, clashing with the Bears uniform. After being tipped off by Mets manager Jerry Manuel, the umpires approached Coffey and asked him to make the switch.

“It was light, a little bit too close to the colors of the uniform,” Manuel said. “I told [the umpires] before he came in. I saw him warming up in the ‘pen with it and thought it was a little light. I should have let him keep the other one though, right?”

As Manuel joked, the glove didn’t matter, as Coffey (2-1) threw 2 1/3 scoreless, striking out three while keeping the Mets off the basepaths.

Coffey entered with the bases loaded in the fifth. Upon getting Jason Bay to ground out to second to end the inning, Coffey started a string of 13 straight batters retired by Brewers relievers to close out the game.

Carlos Villanueva pitched a clean eighth with two strikeouts as the setup man on the night, and John Axford needed just 14 pitches in the ninth for his second save of the season.

“It’s huge,” Parra said of the bullpen’s performance. “It’s great to win this ballgame. We came out firing, scoring a lot of runs. So it was just great that we were able to win that game [and] put a lot of confidence in this clubhouse. I think we’re starting to play a lot better.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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