Mets welcome surprising Brewers for four-game series

NEW YORK -- One of the National League's most surprising teams will visit one of the Senior Circuit's biggest disappointments on Monday afternoon when the Milwaukee Brewers head to Citi Field to face the host New York Mets in the opener of a four-game series.

Both teams earned victories on Sunday. The Brewers beat the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks 9-5 to split a four-game series, while the visiting Mets knocked off the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-2 to take two of three in the weekend set.

The Brewers (27-23) won the final two games against the Diamondbacks to move 1 1/2 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs atop the NL Central. Milwaukee, which hasn't won the division since it last reached the playoffs in 2011, lost five straight before the Saturday win.

"We're not surprised with ourselves," said Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson, who earned the victory Sunday by allowing one run and recording 10 strikeouts -- the second-best total of his career -- over seven innings. "We knew what we had in spring training. The energy's really good, and honestly, as long as we keep this energy and attitude, we can surprise a lot of people."

The Brewers' hot start has been fueled by a lineup that has racked up 257 runs, the fourth most in the NL. However, Milwaukee's starting pitching might be coming around as well. Nelson was preceded in the rotation by Chase Anderson, who carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and earned the win Saturday in a 6-1 decision.

Milwaukee starters have recorded a 3.13 ERA in the past five games.

"We talked about the starting pitcher, at some point in stretches in the season, (has to) be the part that carried us," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

The Mets (21-27) hope they are finally starting to get the performances they expected from their starters. New York made the World Series in 2015 and reached the NL wild-card game last season on the strength of dominant starting pitching, but they currently own the worst ERA in the majors (4.93).

Struggling right-hander Matt Harvey had his best start in weeks on Sunday, when he allowed one run over six innings, to cap a weekend in which Mets starting pitchers gave up five runs over 20 1/3 innings.

"That's what we certainly anticipated coming out of (spring training in) Florida -- good starts out of our starters," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

The Mets' Robert Gsellman (2-3, 6.45 ERA) will oppose the Brewers' Matt Garza (2-1, 3.60 ERA) on Memorial Day in a matchup of right-handers.

Gsellman returned to the rotation last Wednesday following a brief demotion and didn't factor into the decision after allowing three runs over six innings as New York fell to the San Diego Padres, 6-5.

"We got a great start (Sunday)," Collins said. "And hopefully Robert gives us another one (Monday)."

Garza had the lone hiccup for the Brewers over the last five games on Wednesday, when he took the loss after giving up a season-high six runs over 5 1/3 innings as Milwaukee dropped an 8-4 decision to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Gsellman took the loss in his lone career start and appearance against the Brewers on May 13, when he allowed six runs (five earned) over four innings as the Mets fell 11-4 at Miller Park.

Garza is 2-1 with a 4.60 ERA in five career starts against the Mets.

The Brewers swept a three-game series against the Mets earlier this month in Milwaukee.
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