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Lo Duca's solo home run in ninth edges Mets past Brewers

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The slumping New York Mets had blown a four-run
lead in the eighth inning and were on the brink of their fifth loss
in six games as people began to lose their cool.

However, veteran catcher Paul Lo Duca steadied the Mets, and
didn't flinch against one of the league's best relievers.

His tiebreaking solo home run in the top of ninth off Derrick
Turnbow gave the Mets a 9-8 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on
Saturday night.

Lo Duca sent the 1-0 pitch from Turnbow (0-1) over the wall in
left-center, giving the right-hander his first loss since April 10,
2005.

"It's one of those games you don't want to lose," Lo Duca
said. "Now, we have a chance to win the series."

Turnbow said he meant to throw his 96 mph fastball down and
away, but it stayed up in the strike zone.

"You can't be perfect all the time," said Turnbow, who has
started the season with 12 straight saves. "We battled back so
hard, I wish I could've gotten the job done and we would've won."

Jose Valentin homered and drove in four runs and Carlos Beltran
added a three-run shot for the NL East-leading Mets, who squandered
a chance to give Jeremi Gonzalez his first win exactly a year
between major league starts.

"It was an ugly win, but you've got to take any win you can,"
Valentin said.

Chad Bradford (2-1) pitched 2-3 of an inning to pick up the win.
Billy Wagner allowed Carlos Lee to reach second in the ninth, but
struck out three for his eighth save in 11 opportunities.

Mets manager Willie Randolph was ejected in a wild eighth inning
that began with Valentin's two-run homer to give New York an 8-4
lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Corey Koskie hit a three-run homer
off reliever Duaner Sanchez and Damian Miller hit a solo shot on
the next pitch to tie the score 8-all.

"The game got out of hand so quickly," said Sanchez, who has
given up five runs in 1 2-3 innings since beginning his Mets career
with 21 scoreless frames. "In five minutes, everything happened."

Sanchez plunked the next batter, Brady Clark, and was ejected.
Randolph stormed out of the dugout, turned after finishing his
thoughts and was tossed by home plate umpire Tim Tschida. Randolph
then returned to yell some more before leaving for the clubhouse.

"It's mind boggling to me," Randolph said. "I'm not going to
make a big deal out of it. Obviously, in a tie game on the road
you're not going to put the winning run on base."

After Jeff Cirillo reached on an error to put two on with one
out, Bradford struck out Rickie Weeks and forced Bill Hall to
ground out to set the stage for Lo Duca.

"Any time you battle back it hurts," Brewers manager Ned Yost
said. "It was a damn good game, we just didn't win it."

The second-highest attendance in Miller Park history saw Dana
Eveland making his first major league start after 27 career relief
appearances for the Brewers in place of ace Ben Sheets (right
shoulder tendinitis).

Meanwhile, Gonzalez started his first game after his minor
league contract was purchased earlier Saturday in the wake of
injuries to Brian Bannister (right hamstring), Victor Zambrano
(right elbow) and John Maine (right middle finger).

New York scored three in the sixth, two off a single with the
bases loaded by Valentin after Eveland walked Chris Woodward,
loading the bases to set up a double play. The Mets made it 6-2 on
a single by Jose Reyes.

But Milwaukee chipped away in the bottom of the inning, getting
an RBI single from Geoff Jenkins and an RBI double from Lee.

Gonzalez finished allowing three runs and five hits in five-plus
innings. Eveland gave up six runs off seven hits in 5 2-3 innings.

Randolph had earlier argued with Tschida about a home run by
Prince Fielder. Fielder hit his third homer in the series in the
fourth, but replays appeared to show the drive hit just below the
yellow line marking the wall at the right field foul pole and
failing to clear the fence.

First base umpire Ted Barrett appeared to call the ball in play,
but Tschida at home plate overruled him and signaled home run. The
umpires conferred and Tschida's call stood.

Game notes
Valentin played for the Brewers from 1992-1999. He was
starting in left field in place of Cliff Floyd. ... Milwaukee
traded infielder Enrique Cruz to the Texas Rangers for left-handed
reliever Brian Shouse on Saturday. "He's a real-hard thrower, 83
mph fastball, I think," Yost deadpanned. Shouse will be the
specialist against lefties, and Yost described the unique delivery
and pitch movement as "deceptional." ... Bannister threw 83
pitches Saturday in a simulated game in Port St. Lucie, Fla., where
the rookie RHP has been rehabbing. Randolph said Bannister may be
called up as early as Thursday to replace Jose Lima, who has been
ineffective in two starts, depending on how Bannister's injury
responds from the session. ... There were 45,150 attending the game
due to a bobblehead promotion for Turnbow. The largest crowd ever
was in 2003 against the Cubs, with 46,218 in attendance.