By BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — So much has gone right for Eric Sogard and the Milwaukee Brewers this season, they naturally thought they’d caught yet another break on a bizarre play.
A bat boy bumping into a third baseman? Who’s ever seen that?
“Not me, obviously,” Sogard said Thursday after the surprise NL Central leaders beat the New York Mets 2-1.
The Brewers didn’t benefit for long, at least not this time.
Given a second chance with the bases loaded when Mets infielder Wilmer Flores got tangled with the bat boy on a foul popup, Sogard grounded into an inning-ending double play.
“I guess you can say the ball never lies,” Sogard said. “I was going to be out, then I hit into a double play.”
Thanks to Chase Anderson, Milwaukee made out fine.
Anderson pitched seven shutout innings and the Brewers won the last two at Citi Field to salvage a four-game split. They now head back to Miller Park for a seven-game homestand.
“That’s like our go-to — have a happy flight,” said left fielder Nick Franklin, who threw a runner out at the plate and hit an RBI single.
The kookiness came in the fourth inning with the Brewers ahead 2-0.
Sogard lofted a popup and Flores gave frantic chase along the railing of Milwaukee’s third base dugout. A bat boy carrying a metal stool tried to dodge past, but nicked Flores’ arm. Got him with the chair, too.
The ball caromed off a combination of the bat boy, the stool and Flores.
Umpires originally called interference and said Sogard was out, but quickly huddled and reversed their ruling.
“You can’t get mad at him, he was trying to get out of the way, but he went the wrong way,” Flores said, adding, “I had the ball.”
Mets manager Terry Collins bolted from the bench, argued with crew chief Fieldin Culbreth and was ejected.
In the Official Baseball Rules, it is considered unintentional interference — not an out — if a bat boy or security person or someone else permitted on the field accidently gets in the way of a fielder.
“I mean Fieldin did the right thing getting together. My issue was it’s a routine catch. It’d be one thing if it’s a difficult play. That was my argument,” Collins said.
Flores said it all turned out OK, despite also getting hit by the stool. Besides, he knows that bat boy and knew he meant no harm.
“I’m sure we’ll talk about it later. We’ll joke about it, I mean we didn’t get hurt in that inning, so it was good,” Flores said.
Sogard had singled his first two times up. This was his 16th game for the Brewers, and the leadoff man is hitting .410.
Anderson (4-1) gave up three hits, walked one and struck out seven. In his previous start, he took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning to beat Arizona.
“I kind of found that groove,” he said.
Corey Knebel pitched the ninth for his fourth save. Flores homered in the eighth on reliever Jacob Barnes’ first pitch.
Anderson’s odd bunt single off Zack Wheeler (3-3) set up the strange sequence. With two on, he popped up a ball and catcher Travis d’Arnaud corralled it. D’Arnaud appeared to have a play at second base, but held on and threw too late to get Anderson.
Franklin threw out Lucas Duda at the plate to end the second as he tried to score from second on d’Arnaud’s single. Franklin had an RBI single, right before Anderson’s bunt hit.
Hernan Perez hit an RBI double in the Milwaukee third.
The Mr. Met mascot was at the ballpark, greeting fans and shooting T-shirts into the stands. A day before, the person inside the costume was caught on video making an obscene gesture toward a fan. The Mets said the offending employee would not be the mascot again and that someone else filled the role for this game.
A BIG FAN
Knebel struck out Jose Reyes and Jay Bruce to begin the ninth, and has fanned someone in all 27 of his games this year. His streak is the third-longest since 1900 by a reliever to start a season, trailing Aroldis Chapman’s string of 37 in 2014 and 29 in 2012, the Elias Sports Bureau said. Knebel has struck out 46 in 26 innings overall.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (3-3, 3.83 ERA) struck out 10 vs. Arizona in his last start. He’ll face Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.37) and the visiting Dodgers on Friday night.
Mets: RHP Matt Harvey (4-3, 4.95) faces the Pirates after beating them last Sunday night at PNC Park. He has held opponents hitless in their last 22 at-bats with runners in scoring position.