Brewers tangle in dugout tunnel during 12-4 loss to Mets
By CHRIS JENKINS
AP Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Already fighting to stay in first place, the Milwaukee Brewers are now scuffling among themselves.
Catcher Johnny Estrada and manager Ned Yost nearly tangled in a dugout tunnel late in Thursday’s 12-4 loss to the New York Mets, the Brewers’ 10th defeat in 14 games.
“There was frustration expressed on a number of different sides about our style of play and about the way we’ve been playing,” Yost said. “We handled it and took care of it like good teams do.”
Damion Easley hit the first inside-the-park homer at Miller Park in five years, breaking a sixth-inning tie. The Mets scored three more times in the seventh, helped by shortstop J.J. Hardy’s error and an RBI double from reliever Jorge Sosa.
When the half-inning ended, Estrada and Yost got into a heated dispute in the tunnel leading from the dugout to the clubhouse. Infielder Tony Graffanino stepped between them while pitcher Ben Sheets and pitching coach Mike Maddux stood in front of Estrada.
The next inning, Yost motioned with his finger for Estrada to come talk with him, and they disappeared out of sight down the tunnel.
Asked if such a conflict could spur a team, Yost said, “We’ll see.” He then abruptly walked out of his postgame news conference.
Estrada declined comment through a team spokesman.
“It’s our business,” Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder said. “It’s team business. I think it’s good for the players, for us, we go over some business stuff and it should put us back on track.”
Bill Hall was one of several players who claimed not to see the incident. He insisted there aren’t any problems in the Brewers clubhouse.
“I know that for a fact,” Hall said. “Everybody is fine with everybody.”
Corey Hart homered twice for Milwaukee, which lost two of three in the series. The Brewers led the NL Central by 8 1/2 games on June 21, but their defeat Wednesday night dropping them out of first place for the first time since April 21.
“We’ll stick together,” Geoff Jenkins said. “We’ll be fine.”
Before this game, Yost said it was too early to start worrying about the division race, a point he’ll likely be driving home to his young team in coming weeks.
“I wish we could just erase our minds at the start of every game and just focus on this game and not worrying about being in first of being in second,” Yost said prior to the first pitch.
Brian Lawrence (1-0) gave up three runs and eight hits in five innings for the victory — his first major league win since Sept. 29, 2005.