MILWAUKEE Nieses to Pieces. That's the funny nickname pitching coach Dan Warthen used when he listed the 21-year-old lefthander, Jon Niese, on Tuesday's schedule for his rotation. It turned out to be prophetic.
Niese, the Mets' top pitching prospect, came unglued in his major-league debut and had to be rescued after the Brewers reeled off five straight hits in the fourth inning to erase the Mets' early four-run lead.
But in the 10th inning, it was another rookie, Daniel Murphy, who helped his former teammate at Double-A Binghamton feel a little better. Murphy's pinch-hit single off Salomon Torres ignited a rally that ended with Endy Chavez's sacrifice fly as the Mets prevailed, 6-5, at Miller Park.
After Murphy's leadoff single, the Mets got lucky when Rickie Weeks dropped the throw on Jose Reyes' sacrifice bunt. Catcher Jason Kendall was charged with the error for throwing into the runner, and that allowed Murphy to hustle to third.
Chavez, who entered as a defensive replacement for Nick Evans in the seventh, followed with the sacrifice fly to give the Mets their second straight win over the wild-card leading Brewers. Carlos Beltran had a three-run homer and Luis Ayala stranded the tying run at second in the 10th inning for his fifth save in six chances.
The Mets' bullpen didn't allow a run in seven innings, but did supply a suspenseful 10th. With two outs, rookie Brad Nelson smacked a double his first major-league hit and Ayala walked pinch hitter Gabe Kapler. Up next was Weeks, who already had four hits, but Ayala struck him out.
Now 5-2 on this road trip, the Mets also stayed in front of the Phillies by two games in the NL East.
PHILLIES 4, NATIONALS 0: At Washington, Cole Hamels pitched into the eighth inning and Jimmy Rollins drove in two runs as Philadelphia snapped Washington's seven-game winning streak. Hamels (12-8) gave up five hits in 7 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking three.
BRAVES 16, MARLINS 14: At Miami, pinch-hitter Ruben Gotay had an RBI double in the ninth inning and Atlanta spoiled a seven-run rally by Florida. The game featured 30 runs, 36 hits and 14 pitchers. Florida came back from a 10-3 deficit to take a 13-10 lead, and had it held, it would have been by far the biggest comeback win this season for Florida. The Marlins had rallied from three-run deficits five times this season.
ASTROS 9, CUBS 7 (11): At Chicago, Geoff Blum hit a two-run homer off Kerry Wood in the 11th inning to send Houston to its seventh straight victory. The first-place Cubs, who have lost four straight, all at home, remained 4 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee in the NL Central.
ROCKIES 6, GIANTS 5 (12): At Denver, Ryan Spilborghs singled home Omar Quintanilla with one out in the bottom of the 12th for Colorado.
PIRATES 3, REDS 2: At Cincinnati, rookies Brandon Moss and Andy LaRoche hit back-to-back home runs to help Pittsburgh snap a 10-game losing streak.
DODGERS 8, PADRES 4: At Los Angeles, Manny Ramirez homered and drove in three runs and the resurgent Los Angeles Dodgers closed in on Arizona in the NL West. Andre Ethier had three hits including a homer, and rookie Clayton Kershaw allowed a run and three hits in seven innings to help the Dodgers win their fourth straight.
CARDINALS 8, DIAMONDBACKS 2: At Phoenix, Adam Wainwright helped himself by doubling in two runs, and Troy Glaus hit one of St. Louis' three homers. Yadier Molina and Felipe Lopez also connected to give Wainwright an early 5-0 lead.
RED SOX 14, ORIOLES 2: At Boston, Dustin Pedroia had three hits and five RBIs, and David Ortiz went 3-for-3 and drove in four runs. Boston won for the 10th time in 14 games and took a four-game lead in the AL wild-card race. The Red Sox moved within four games of Tampa Bay in the AL East.
YANKEES 7, RAYS 2: At St. Petersburg, Fla., Mike Mussina earned his 17th win, and New York got home runs from Alex Rodriguez and Xavier Nady. Joba Chamberlain came off the disabled list for New York and pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
INDIANS 9, WHITE SOX 3: At Cleveland, Victor Martinez hit his first home run in nearly a year for Cleveland. The White Sox remained tied with Minnesota for the AL Central lead despite losing for the fifth time in six games.
BLUE JAYS 7, TWINS 5: At Toronto, Jose Bautista and Alex Rios both had four hits and hit back-to-back homers for Toronto in its seventh straight victory over Minnesota. Lyle Overbay also homered for Toronto, which finished with 17 hits in winning its third straight.
ANGELS 5, TIGERS 4: At Detroit, Mark Teixeira's ninth-inning sacrifice fly gave Los Angeles the victory. Torii Hunter drove in three run for Los Angeles, which reduced its magic number to clinch the AL West to eight.
RANGERS 6, MARINERS 4: At Arlington, Texas, Brandon McCarthy pitched six strong innings for his first win in more than 13 months and Josh Hamilton drove in three runs for Texas.
ROYALS 5, ATHLETICS 2: At Kansas City, Mo., Billy Butler homered and drove in four runs to lead Kansas City in a game between teams that combined for 40 losses in August.