CHICAGO // The Milwaukee Brewers moved into sole possession of first place in the National League Central with a 10-6 victory over the slumping New York Mets on Monday, the win highlighted by Casey McGehee's first career grand slam. McGehee acknowledged a curtain call ovation from the 39,872 fans at Miller Park after his sixth inning blast, winning over the same spectators who booed him for dropping a routine fly ball that led to two New York runs in the top of the inning.
"If somebody would have told me this time last year I'd have 40,000 people calling me out of a dugout for a curtain call, I would've said they were lying," McGehee, who has hit all five of his career homers in the last 13 games, told reporters. "I didn't really know what was going on. I'm just glad I was able to redeem myself a little bit." Milwaukee's win combined with the Cardinals's 10-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants put the Brewers (41-35) one game ahead of St Louis in the division, while the Mets lost their fourth straight game.
Braden Looper (6-4) went 6 1/3 innings for the win. Four relievers finished the game, including Trevor Hoffman, who came on in the ninth and needed just one pitch to induce a double-play and record his 18th save in 19 chances. JJ Hardy had four hits, including a homer, and Jason Kendall added three hits and an RBI for the Brewers, who had 19 hits off five New York pitchers. "We were all really excited for him," Hardy said of McGehee, who was playing in just his 50th Major League contest.
"It's also great to get into first place." New York (37-38) fell one game under .500 for the first time since May 5 and slipped into third place in the NL East, three games behind the first place Philadelphia Phillies. "If we cannot sustain a level of .500 play, then yeah, we need help," the New York manager Jerry Manuel said. "We're a below average team. Period." Fernando Nieve (3-1) was roughed up for three runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings and took the loss. Gary Sheffield homered, had three hits and three RBI and Ryan Church had four hits for New York.