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Aoki hits leadoff homer, Brewers don't look back against Mets

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The Canadian Press
9/27/2013 11:40:48 PM
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NEW YORK -- Norichika Aoki got some good news during batting practice and turned it into a great night all-around.

Aoki hit a leadoff homer, Khris Davis connected three batters later and Yovani Gallardo pitched the Milwaukee Brewers to a 4-2 victory over the New York Mets on Friday night.

Before the game, Aoki found out from Japanese reporters that Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said the team will pick up the outfielder's $1.5 million option for next season.

"I didn't know about it until I heard today, and I'm excited to be part of the Brewers again," Aoki said through a translator. "I'm very thankful."

Martin Maldonado also homered and Gallardo (12-10) went six innings to end his inconsistent season with a win.

The right-hander, who won 33 games over the previous two years, finished 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA in eight starts since returning from a strained left hamstring.

"Being on the DL for those two weeks just kind of lets you reset, kind of have a fresh start," Gallardo said. "And ever since then I've been feeling good."

The fourth-place Brewers are closing strong, too. They have won three straight and five of six, giving them nine victories in their last 10 road games against New York.

"We count on Yo. He's not a guy that I have a question mark about. So it's really important for him to finish well and knowing next year, coming into the season, that we're going to get the same guy that we've been used to for all these years. Somebody you can count on every time he's out there," manager Ron Roenicke said. "From when he came back off the DL, I don't have those questions anymore."

Brandon Kintzler worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Jim Henderson pitched a perfect ninth for his 28th save in 32 tries.

The punchless Mets played without All-Star third baseman David Wright, who sat out with a sore right thumb, and lost 4-2 to Milwaukee for the second consecutive game.

Wright was sidelined one night after he was hit in the helmet by an 86 mph changeup. The Mets reiterated that Wright's head is fine -- he said he passed all the concussion tests -- but the medical staff recommended he rest his thumb for a day.

The star slugger jammed his thumb when he hit the dirt after he was plunked by a pitch from Johnny Hellweg.

All-Star centre fielder Carlos Gomez was back in the Brewers' lineup after serving a one-game suspension for touching off a bench-clearing fracas Wednesday in Atlanta when he admired his homer and yelled at Braves starter Paul Maholm.

Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez aggravated a left knee injury during the fray and has missed the last two games. Ramirez expected to take batting practice and could return this weekend, Roenicke said.

Jean Segura sat out his ninth consecutive game because of a strained right hamstring, but Roenicke said the All-Star shortstop would probably be available off the bench and might start Saturday.

Segura and Eric Young Jr. of the Mets are tied for the NL lead with 44 stolen bases.

Aoki sent the fourth pitch from Carlos Torres (4-6) to right field for his second career leadoff homer.

"He smoked it, too. That one really sounded good," Roenicke said.

Scooter Gennett struck out but reached on a wild pitch. One out later, Davis drove a hanging breaking ball to left for his 11th home run.

Davis grabbed at his left leg while trying to beat out an eighth-inning grounder. He came out with a tight left hamstring and strained right quadriceps.

"I think he's OK. We're thinking more it's, he's kind of dehydrated and didn't probably drink as much water as he should," Roenicke said. "I'm hoping he'll be OK tomorrow."

Justin Turner knocked in a run with an infield single in the sixth to cut it to 3-2. New York had the bases loaded with one out, but Gallardo struck out Juan Lagares before Daniel Murphy tried to score from third on a pitch in the dirt.

Maldonado blocked the ball in front of him and scrambled back in time to tag Murphy, who tried to hurdle the catcher at home plate.

"Took a chance," Murphy said. "It's two outs, two strikes right there. Gallardo's out pitch is a curveball and I was looking for a dirtball and I got one. I just didn't trust the first read and once I hesitated, I was out. Probably should have shut it down but I didn't."

NOTES: Milwaukee C Jonathan Lucroy made his ninth start this season at first base. ... Brewers prospect Jimmy Nelson makes his first major league start Saturday against RHP Aaron Harang. ... Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (8-8) will start the season finale Sunday against RHP Marco Estrada (7-4).

Norichika Aoki (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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