MILWAUKEE - Jimmy Nelson avoided his usual first-inning problems and came out a winner.
Nelson allowed two hits in eight strong innings, Scooter Gennett hit a home run and the Milwaukee Brewers extended the New York Mets' losing streak to a season-high seven games with a 4-1 victory Wednesday night.
"The first innings have been a little uneven for him," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He was just good all night tonight."
Nelson (4-8) allowed one run, Curtis Granderson's 11th home run, and two hits. He struck out five and walked one sending the Mets to their longest skid since April 2011. Johnny Monell singled leading off the third for the first hit in the game off the Brewers' big right-hander.
It was a nice victory for Nelson, especially after struggling his two previous starts. He allowed seven runs and 10 hits over five innings in a 7-2 home defeat to Washington on June 13, then yielded three runs and a career-worst 11 hits over five in Friday's 3-2 loss at Kansas City.
Counsell thought the win might be a confidence booster for the 25-year-old Nelson.
"He's been a little uneven this year, but he's still a young pitcher," Counsell said. "It was a great night for him to build on and to know what's in there."
After Granderson's home run, his second in as many games, Nelson retired 15 of his last 16 batters. The only blemish was a two-out walk to Granderson.
"When I walked Granderson, I was coming out of it a little bit early," Nelson said of his delivery. "I was able to make the adjustment as opposed to letting that inning go as it has in the past."
The Mets are in an offensive funk during their winless eight-game road trip. They came in batting .168 with four home runs and eight runs scored and did little to turn it around against Nelson who beat them for the first time in three starts.
"We didn't mount anything today, outside the home run and a double late," Mets manager Terry Collins said after a brief closed-door meeting with the team after the game. "That's about it."
The Brewers scratched out four runs and 10 hits in six innings off Mets starter Bartolo Colon (9-6) as New York (36-37) slipped below .500 for the first time since a 2-3 record on April 11.
Gennett hit a solo home run off Colon in the sixth, and Ryan Braun, Adam Lind and Carlos Gomez each had run-scoring hits.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 15th save in as many chances. He stranded Ruben Tejada at second on with a two-out double when he struck out Lucas Duda on a pitch that bounced in the dirt before catcher Jonathan Lucroy grabbed it and threw to first for the final out.
With the victory, Milwaukee spoiled Colon's attempt to become the second 10-game winner in the NL, and third in the majors. Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole leads with 11 victories and Seattle's Felix Hernandez has 10.
Injuries continue to plague the Mets. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud (left elbow) went on the disabled list for the second time this season Tuesday. He joins David Wright, out since mid-April, first with a hamstring injury and now lumbar spinal stenosis, and Daniel Murphy (left quad strain) on the DL. Earlier, d'Arnaud spent nearly two months on the DL with a broken right pinkie.
Collins said that there's only one thing the Mets can do.
"You just got to grind it out," he said. "Continue to grind out at-bats."
Asked if the front office has done enough, Collins didn't hesitate.
"I don't blame anybody," he said. "I've never done that. I never will. These are the guys that are here. They're major league players. We've got to play better."
Mets: Collins gave OF Michael Cuddyer and INF Dilson Herrera the night off to regroup. Cuddyer's error in the seventh allowed the decisive run to score in Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to Milwaukee. He is in a 3-for-21 slump, while Herrera is 1 for 17. Collins started catcher Johnny Monell for Kevin Plawecki. Monell was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas Tuesday when d'Arnaud (left elbow) went on the day DL. Plawecki will start on Thursday. ... 2B Murphy, on the 15-day DL since June 5 with a left quad strain, went 1-1 with a walk in a rehab assignment for the rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets on Wednesday.
Brewers: LF Khris Davis, on the 15-day DL since May 31 with a torn right meniscus, hit during batting practice. He has been running the bases and throwing. "All signs are very positive," Counsell said. No date has been announced for Davis's return.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (7-5) pitched well in his previous start, but still took the loss. He allowed two runs on four hits in 7 1/3 innings June 19 as the Atlanta Braves beat him 2-1.
Brewers: RHP Taylor Jungmann (2-1) makes his fourth career start and first ever against the Mets. He was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on June 9.