NEW YORK (AP) - Giddy fans high-fived and hooted at Citi Field, celebrating what looked to be another entertaining win for the out-of-contention Mets.
Angel Pagan's homer - off Francisco Rodriguez, no less - had just capped a rally from six runs down.
The Brewers, though, immediately wrecked the party. Prince Fielder hit a long home run early off Chris Capuano and a key single in the ninth inning to help Milwaukee wind up with an 11-9 win Saturday night.
``By now, if it can go wrong, it's going wrong,' Capuano said.
The Mets have been out of the running for the postseason for a while now, and have lost eight of 10 since an inspired pair of comebacks led mostly by young players who have emerged this season.
Down 7-1 in the seventh, Lucas Duda's double highlighted a five-run burst. Pagan's shot put the Mets ahead 9-7.
But Mets reliever Jason Isringhausen (3-3) couldn't get an out in the ninth and left after a bases-loaded walk. Casey McGehee followed Fielder's tying hit with a two-run single off Manny Acosta, capping a four-run rally.
``We felt like we gave it all,' Pagan said. ``It was their day. We did everything we could to win, but we couldn't.'
Said Mets manager Terry Collins: ``We lost the game, but in my estimation, it didn't go to waste.'
Fielder, Ryan Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt all homered for the Brewers, who have won eight of their nine games and 21 of 24. Fielder drove in four runs, and is 9 for 18 with four homers and 12 RBIs against the Mets this season.
Milwaukee took an 8 1/2-game lead in the NL Central, matching the largest division lead in franchise history.
John Axford pitched the ninth for his 37th save.
Mets fans jeered K-Rod, traded with his hefty contract from New York to the Brewers during the All-Star break.
``My first thoughts are, 'Why are they booing him?' It's not like he picked up and left, he was traded,' Axford said. ``When he got out there he was definitely energized. A couple of little mistakes, knowing you're facing your old team.'
Said Rodriguez: ``I could care less, on the road, we're going to get booed.'
``It's as simple as that,' he said.
Rodriguez retired Ronny Paulino and Jason Pridie in order before coming undone. Ruben Tejada walked with two outs before Josh Thole's double went off the glove of center fielder Jerry Hairston, who had to change his course to the ball at the last second.
``I thought it was a ball that was going to be caught.' Rodriguez said.
As the ball hit the ground and the crowd at Citi Field roared, Rodriguez put his hands on his head, staring out to center field.
Pagan made it worse for Rodriguez, sending his pitch into the upper deck in right, just one section over from where Fielder hit a three-run homer in the third that smacked off an empty seat with an audible thud.
Isringhausen walked the first two batters in the ninth, gave up a single that loaded the bases and walked pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay on a full count, making it 9-8.
Acosta came on and retired Braun on a fly to right field, but Fielder came through against the Mets as he has all season. Fielder reached down and golfed an RBI single just past diving second baseman Justin Turner, and McGehee rolled his two-run single to right.
Capuano struck out seven and made it 24 starts in a row in which he's gone more than five innings. That was about all the Mets left-hander could hang his hat on, though, he was pulled with the Mets trailing 7-1 in the sixth after giving up Betancourt's homer and two straight singles.
The last straw was the single to backup catcher George Kottaras, a lefty hitter who was only in the lineup because he is Randy Wolf's personal catcher.
Mets manager Terry Collins had apparently seen enough, bringing in Pedro Beato to face Wolf with two outs. Wolf grounded out on two pitches.
NOTES: Mets SS Jose Reyes did more running Saturday as he rehabilitated his strained left hamstring. Collins observed the workout and said Reyes looked ``terrific' and that the Mets would see how he feels on Sunday before deciding on their next step. Reyes is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday, but probably will take longer than that. ... Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand was a guest of the Mets and was on the field before the game. He is still in a motorized wheelchair while he recovers from a serious spinal injury, though he has been standing frequently. LeGrand recently also visited the New York Jets' training camp ... Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo (13-8) was set to face Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (5-11) in Sunday's three-game series finale. Gallardo has tied a career high with 17 quality starts out of his 27 this season. ... A fire at one of the auto businesses across the street from the center-field entrance to Citi Field sent black smoke billowing into the air behind the scoreboard, momentarily distracting fans.
The Associated Press News Service
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