Two errant throws across the infield wasted a sterling start by Tom Gorzelanny and proved costly to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Pressed into his second start of the season to give Wily Peralta extra days to rest his ailing left hamstring, Gorzelanny — who has made 32 relief appearances — pitched six strong innings in the Brewers' 2-1 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday.
Gorzelanny (1-2) allowed two unearned runs and eight hits while striking out a season-high eight. However, two throwing errors by Milwaukee third baseman Juan Francisco led to a two unearned runs and Mets starter Jeremy Hefner limited the Brewers to one run on two hits over seven innings.
"I like it," Gorzelanny said of starting. "Obviously that's something I've done most of my career and I enjoy it, but I'm here to do whatever they need me to do. Start again or go back to the bullpen, I'm happy with whatever."
As good as Gorzelanny was, Hefner was better, allowing one hit until Jonathan Lucroy opened the seventh inning with his 10th home run.
Hefner (4-6), who matched his career-high with eight strikeouts, allowed two runners in the second when he hit Rickie Weeks with two outs and Sean Halton followed with a single. But Hefner, who has a 1.64 ERA since June 4, struck out Logan Schafer to end the inning.
"He moves the ball in and out," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's pitching much better inside. That's why I think he's getting some swings and misses."
Josh Satin had two doubles and a single for the Mets, scoring one run and driving in the other to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.
Bobby Parnell, who came on with a runner on first and two outs in the eighth, finished for his 15th save.
The Mets hustled across an unearned run in the fourth with the aid of what appeared to be a blown call. With two outs, Satin doubled to center, narrowly sliding in ahead of the throw from center fielder Carlos Gomez. Francisco then barehanded Andrew Brown's slow bouncer, but his hurried throw eluded Halton at first, allowing Brown to reach and Satin to score.
On the replay, it appeared that second baseman Rickie Weeks missed the initial swipe, but tagged Satin higher on the leg before he reached the bag.
"I was out," Satin said. "I didn't see a replay but I thought I was out."
Both Weeks and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke questioned the call, but not vehemently.
Francisco's second throwing error on almost identical play set up the Mets second run in the sixth. With one out, he again barehanded a slow roller by Marlon Byrd and threw wildly past first, sending Byrd to second. Satin followed with an RBI double off the wall in right.
Francisco had started 29 games this season for Atlanta before being acquired by the Brewers on June 3. He has started 21 games at first for Milwaukee, but was making only his third start at third base.
When asked if Francisco should have held the ball, Roenicke said, "You don't want to eat it. If he makes the throw on line, he's going to beat the runner. I think both times and if you throw it and put it on line, they're out."
In his only other start of the season on June 8, Gorzelanny held the Phillies to one run on five hits in four innings.
"His stuff is better than what I remembered as a starter," Roenicke said. "The fastball is really live and he mixes in the other pitches whenever he wants to and can keep them down low in the zone."
Roenicke would not rule out another start by Gorzelanny, but also wouldn't commit to it, despite having starters Marco Estrada and Alfredo Figaro on the disabled list.
"I think that's always a possibility," Roenicke said about Gorzelanny moving into the rotation. "I would say he's stretched out enough to do it. We'll regroup after the break and try to get our starting pitching on alignment. But, until then, we had planned to move Donnie Hand back until that Friday, but maybe it's Gorzo that does it."
NOTES: Brewers RF Norichika Aoki's eighth-inning single was his 22nd infield hit, third-most in baseball. ... Gorzelanny lowered his ERA to 2.12 this season.