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Brewers recap 5/30

May 30, 2010

Rickie fine, but pitching problematic for Crew

MILWAUKEE — So much positive energy had been built up over the first five days of the homestand, but it didn’t take long for the Brewers to lose it on Sunday.

With the game tied in the sixth, reliever Jeff Suppan gave up four runs on six hits in just 1 2/3 innings of work, walking three and striking out two.

Suppan (0-2) simply couldn’t execute, and it cost the Brewers the game, as they lost, 10-4, to the Mets.

“It’s as simple as making quality pitches,” pitching coach Rick Peterson said. “Any time a pitcher struggles, you’d like to say something really profound. But it was just an inability to consistently make quality pitches.”

Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey overcame some early struggles of his own to pick up the win. Dickey (2-0) pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on nine hits while striking out three.

But while Dickey gave up just two hits in keeping the Brewers off the board over a four-inning stretch from the third to the sixth, the Brewers saw an early one-run lead turn into a four-run deficit in the seventh.

After struggling early in the season and pitching his way out of the rotation, Suppan had been mostly relegated to working when a game was out of reach. But with four relievers having been used in Saturday’s 8-6 victory, manager Ken Macha called on Suppan with the score tied.

Afterward, Macha and Peterson both said they were confident in Suppan’s chances to succeed in that situation. With that in mind, it only made things more frustrating for Suppan when he was unable to get out of the seventh inning.

“I actually felt pretty good today,” Suppan said. “It was a matter of execution, I was just up in the zone. … It becomes frustrating, because I feel good, and I feel like I take a lot of steps forward. Then, in a game like this, it’s a situation where it’s my job to come in and keep it close, and I wasn’t able to do it.”

Suppan was called to pitch in the sixth inning after starter Randy Wolf needed 114 pitches to get through the first five.

Wolf did not want to point the finger at rookie catcher Jonathan Lucroy, but the two had communication issues with the signs for the second straight outing. The last time, the two battled through a similar problem but the left-hander had his best performance of the season, tossing eight scoreless innings against the Astros.

This time, however, the issues were coupled with a few pitches that just missed the zone and helped lead to Wolf’s high pitch count.

“They just couldn’t get on the same page with signs, and it was a constant battle,” Peterson said. “It’s hard to consistently make quality pitches when that happens. And then, when he did, he was just missing and had some calls that could have gone either way not go his way.”

Wolf allowed just two runs on five hits, but he walked five while striking out just three. Still, Macha was pleased with his starter’s performance.

“Wolfie wasn’t on his game,” Macha said. “[He was] missing a little bit with his fastball [and] wound up with some walks, yet he still had us in the game at the end of five.”

Suppan’s rough outing was even more frustrating for the club after the way the Brewers had begun the game against Dickey.

On a 1-2 knuckleball in the first, second baseman Rickie Weeks belted his 15th career leadoff home run, tying the score at 1.

After Alcides Escobar’s single plated another run in the second, Dickey cruised until the seventh, when Weeks hit another knuckleball out to left for a two-run blast, giving him his fourth career multi-homer game.

“Seems like Weeks likes that knuckleball a little bit,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.

But after Weeks’ two-run homer put the Brewers right back in the game, the Mets’ four-run ninth off lefty Zach Braddock put away the game.

Just as it was with Suppan, it was a matter of execution for Braddock.

“I left the ball up, and they hit the ball,” Braddock said. “But I had it toward the end, so I had it the whole time, I just didn’t execute early on. I wanted to come in and keep the team in the game as much as possible, but I just couldn’t get it done.”

But even after all that went wrong for the Brewers, they remained focused on the positives after their first winning homestand of the season.

“It just feels good to go out there and get two wins from a good team like that,” Weeks said. “All we can do is go out on the road and try to get some more wins out there. … We let one get away from us today, but I think tomorrow will be a good day for us.”

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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