NEW YORK — Christian Yelich’s superb start to the season hit a snag.
The reigning NL MVP is day to day with a sore lower back after being pulled in the fifth inning of the New York Mets’ 5-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday. Mets star Robinson Cano was also injured in the game, which New York won following J.D. Davis’ tiebreaking, pinch-hit single in the seventh.
Yelich singled in the fourth and then injured his back on an attempted stolen base. He stopped awkwardly when a pitch was fouled off, and manager Craig Counsell said his back “grabbed on him.” He remained in the game for another inning but was replaced in the field for the bottom of the fifth.
“He’s a little sore right now,” Counsell said. “I don’t think it’s (an injured list), but we’ll see how he is tomorrow. I would say it’s, I would definitely try to give him a day tomorrow.”
Yelich did not speak to reporters after the game. Counsell said the team did not plan to send him for a scan.
Yelich dealt with back issues last season but overcame them with a huge second half, hitting .367 with 25 homers in his final 65 games while Milwaukee rallied for an NL Central title.
He’s carried over that hot start, batting .353 with 14 homers in 29 games. He went deep Saturday to match Albert Pujols (2006) and Alex Rodriguez (2007) for the most homers in the first month of a season.
Cano exited in the first after being hit by a pitch on his left hand while failing to check his swing. X-rays taken during the game were negative, but New York will send him for further testing Monday, including an MRI.
“We’re still a little concerned so we’re going to get further tests tomorrow and kind of go from there,” manager Mickey Callaway said.
Cano was ruled to have swung at the pitch that ended his day by plate umpire Todd Tichenor. It’s the second time this season Cano has been struck by a pitch but called for a swinging strike.
Davis put New York ahead 3-2 with a line drive against reliever Alex Claudio. Amed Rosario scored from second after reaching when Yelich’s replacement, Ben Gamel, dropped his flyball in right field with Jacob Barnes (1-1) pitching.
Milwaukee walked Michael Conforto to get to Davis, a move Counsell said he regretted.
“I probably would have liked to have handled the seventh inning a little differently, probably gone at Conforto with Claudio instead of walking him,” he said.
Tomas Nido, recalled from Triple-A on Sunday when catcher Travis d’Arnaud was cut, added a pinch-hit, two-run double in the eighth.
Seth Lugo struck out the side in the eighth, and Edwin Diaz pitched the ninth for his eighth save in eight chances. New York ended a three-game skid.
Milwaukee slugger Mike Moustakas hit a tying two-run homer off Steven Matz (3-1) in the seventh. Matz had been excellent until then, pitching most of the game with a 2-0 lead. He finished with seven innings of two-run ball, striking out four without a walk.
“He had command of the game,” Callaway said. “He settled in. He was cool, calm, collected.”
Brewers left-hander Gio Gonzalez was hit hard early in his season debut but steadied himself to throw five innings of two-run ball. He signed a $2 million, one-year deal Saturday after opting out of his minor league contract with the Yankees.
Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun got a sudsy surprise chasing Pete Alonso’s flyball in the first inning. Braun leapt at the wall and had a beer dumped on him by a Mets fan, who appeared to be trying to catch the near-homer in his cup.
Replay review upheld that there was no fan interference and that Alonso’s drive didn’t clear the wall. Alonso got his first career triple and scored on Todd Frazier’s single for a 1-0 lead.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (right shoulder) was scratched from a rehab start with Triple-A San Antonio when his wife went into labour prematurely with twin daughters. Nelson tweeted that the girls, Riley James and Naomi Lynn, were born at 3 lbs, 10 ounces each. Nelson flew to Houston to be with his family, and his rehab has been put on hold.
Mets: INF Jed Lowrie (left knee) began a rehab assignment with Class A Port St. Lucie. His timetable for a return to New York remains uncertain.
Brewers: Milwaukee opens a 10-game homestand with the first of four against Colorado on Monday. RHP Zach Davies (2-0, 1.65) is scheduled to pitch.
Mets: New York begins a four-game home series against Cincinnati. Mets RHP Zack Wheeler (2-2, 4.85) is coming off seven shutout innings against Philadelphia with 11 strikeouts. He’ll face RHP Tanner Roark (1-1, 3.24).
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