- Associated Press - Sunday, May 22, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Thanks to some solid pitching, the Milwaukee Brewers were close in every game at Citi Field all weekend. They just never managed to hold off the New York Mets.

Noah Syndergaard struck out 11 in seven overpowering innings and Michael Conforto homered to help the defending NL champions beat the Brewers 3-1 Sunday for a three-game sweep.

“This is the series that I expected. You expected low-scoring, close games. They don’t allow runs. They don’t walk people. That’s what happened,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “We pitched well enough to put ourselves in every game. But, they pitched a little better.”

Asdrubal Cabrera broke a fourth-inning tie with a two-run single. Conforto connected early for a long drive off Chase Anderson, who has given up a team-high 12 homers.

Anderson (2-6) took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning of his previous outing against the Chicago Cubs and came within one out of a shutout. This time, he lasted five innings and was hurt by Ryan Braun’s misplay in left field while losing for the sixth time in seven starts.

“Only pitch I’d like to have back is the Conforto home run,” Anderson said. “Other than that I feel like I battled pretty well.

“Obviously, it’s not where I want to be after pitching well last time, but I feel like I’m still building to get back on track and I feel like I’m getting to where I want to go,” he added.

Back in the lineup after missing four games with a stiff back, Braun singled once in four at-bats. He also let Yoenis Cespedes’ shallow blooper bounce past him in the fourth for a double that put runners at second and third.

“I think I was kind of caught in-between sliding, diving. I actually thought I got a decent jump, just kind of in no man’s land,” Braun said. “It would have been a lot better if I was able to hold him to a single than let it get by me and end up a double.”

One out later, Cabrera put New York ahead.

The 23-year-old Syndergaard (5-2) yielded six singles and an unearned run that followed David Wright’s first-inning error at third base. He threw a season-high 109 pitches and won his third straight start, saving a taxed bullpen.

“We’ve done a good job of getting on base via walk and he just didn’t give us any opportunities,” Counsell said.

The big right-hander, who beat Milwaukee last May for his first major league win, mixed his 98-99 mph fastballs with effective off-speed stuff. He has gone 18 innings without issuing a walk.

“That’s about as big of a challenge as it gets in today’s game,” Braun said. “His pure stuff is probably the best of any starter in baseball. Unbelievable command of all three off-speed pitches. Fastballs to both sides of the plate. He’s really, really good.”

Jonathan Lucroy had an RBI single for Milwaukee, and Hernan Perez got three hits.

Syndergaard escaped a jam in the seventh after the Brewers ran into a costly out on the bases for the second straight day. With runners at the corners and nobody out, Alex Presley was cut down trying to advance to second on a pitch in the dirt.

“It’s his read, but that’s a spot where, down 3-1, you’ve got to be sure,” Counsell said.

Jim Henderson tossed a scoreless eighth against his former team before Jeurys Familia, perfect in 15 save chances, got Presley to ground into a game-ending double play.

Familia had two saves and a win in the series as the Mets came from behind each day and completed their first three-game sweep of the Brewers since September 2008 in Milwaukee. It was New York’s first home sweep of the Brewers since April 2002 at Shea Stadium.

“I think we’re all understanding of the position that we’re in, but the goal is still to win games,” Braun said. “We’re encouraged by the fact that our starting pitching has been really good the last couple of times through. Those guys are throwing great. We’re putting ourselves in a position where if we’re able to get some big hits or make big pitches, we’re going to start winning a lot of games.”

FRESH ARM

Jhan Marinez, purchased from Tampa Bay on May 13, made an eventful Brewers debut. In his first outing since May 3, the right-handed reliever walked his first batter - after throwing a 95 mph fastball just over Cespedes’ head. But he retired his next six and worked two hitless innings with four strikeouts. It was Marinez’s 10th major league appearance for four teams in a span of seven years.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers LHP Will Smith (sprained right knee) is ready for a minor league rehab assignment. … 1B Chris Carter was rested in favor of Ramon Flores. Normally an outfielder, he made his first big league appearance at first base.

UP NEXT

Milwaukee begins a three-game series at last-place Atlanta on Tuesday night with RHP Jimmy Nelson (4-3, 3.07 ERA) facing RHP Julio Teheran (1-4, 2.73).

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