MILWAUKEE — If good teams make their own breaks, the Milwaukee Brewers showed why they are in last place in the N.L. Central.
The Brewers gave the New York Mets three unearned runs in an inning in which only one ball left the infield, committed three errors, and had two runners thrown out at the plate and another at third.
Milwaukee pitchers also issued eight walks, hit one batter and threw two wild pitches in an ugly 12-5 loss to the Mets on Friday night.
The Brewers wasted a stellar performance by Carlos Gomez in which he had four hits — including two RBI doubles — and made a leaping grab above the center-field wall to take away a home run from pinch-hitter Marlon Byrd in the seventh inning.
"We sure didn't play well today," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We didn't pitch well today, we didn't play well defensively today. We swung the bats OK.
"I messed up, too, on a play. So nothing went right."
Kirk Nieuwenhuis drove in a career-best five runs for New York with his first four-hit game. He had a triple, a double, two singles and two walks.
Nieuwenhuis, who entered the game hitting .179 in 56 at-bats after being recalled from Triple A Las Vegas on June 9, raised his average to .233. He became the first Mets player to reach base six times in a nine-inning game since Mike Piazza did it on May 27, 2000.
"Tremendous night for Kirk Nieuwenhuis," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Absolutely tremendous night. He picked us up."
The Mets hustled their way to three unearned runs in the second inning for a 5-2 lead, despite hitting only one ball out of the infield.
Omar Quintanilla drew a leadoff walk and advanced on Zack Wheeler's sacrifice bunt. Quintanilla moved to third, and Eric Young reached on an error by shortstop Jean Segura. Daniel Murphy's high chopper back to the mound was gloved by 6-foot-9 starter Johnny Hellweg, but Quintanilla dived back to third ahead of Hellweg's throw as Murphy reached to load the bases.
"I kind of had a little lapse of judgment right there," said Hellweg (0-2), who allowed seven runs — three earned — seven hits and five walks in 3 2-3 innings "As soon as the ball came back to me, I felt like there was just a guy at third.
"I just spaced on the guy being at first when the ball got back to me. It wasn't the right play."
Mets first baseman Ike Davis, in his first game since being recalled from a minor league stint, then drove in a run with a slow-rolling single to Segura. After David Wright lined out to first, Nieuwenhuis grounded a two-run single to right just past the glove of diving second baseman Rickie Weeks.
"That is how you win at this level," Collins said. "If you are going to have games where teams are going to give you outs, you better take advantage of it."
Wheeler (2-1) gave up three runs and seven hits and walked three in five shaky innings. He struggled in his two previous starts since pitching six shutout innings in his major league debut.
The Mets made it 7-2 in the fourth with the aid of another error. Wright walked to open the inning and came around on singles by Davis and Nieuwenhuis. Davis scored from third on a two-out error by third baseman Aramis Ramirez.
The Brewers loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning, but Wheeler escaped when catcher Jonathan Lucroy flied to shallow center and Juan Francisco struck out looking.
"I'm part of that. I popped out. I'm guilty of that," Lucroy said. "We let him off the hook. You have to take advantage of the situations, and when you don't that's when you get beat like that."
Nieuwenhuis accounted for another run in the sixth when he walked, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on John Buck's single. He doubled in the eighth and scored on Juan Lagares' single to make it 9-4.
Nieuwenhuis tripled in another run in the Mets' three-run ninth.
Francisco opened the fourth with his 11th home run to trim it to 7-3. The Brewers scored single runs in the seventh and eighth on RBI doubles by Gomez and Logan Schafer.
Hellweg's wildness helped the Mets score twice in the first. Young singled to open the game and moved to third on Wright's one-out single to right. Hellweg then issued consecutive walks to Davis, who entered hitting .161, and Nieuwenhuis to force in a run. Wright scored on Lagares' fielder's choice.
Milwaukee answered with two unearned runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Gomez and a sacrifice fly by Ramirez.
It was the second consecutive rough start for Hellweg, who was rocked for seven runs in 1 2-3 innings in his first major league start on June 28. He had gone 6-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his last seven starts at Triple A Nashville before being called up by the Brewers.
"The potential he has is the stuff that he has," Roenicke said. "He has a great fastball, a real good moving fastball. He's got a nice breaking ball. But he has to command those pitches. Unless you can command them in the big leagues, you're not going to do well."
NOTES: Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, on the disabled list with an injured right thumb, took swings in the indoor cage Friday. "I haven't talked to him since he swung. I talked to (third base coach) Ed Sedar and he said he swung the bat real well. I just haven't asked Ryan how the hand felt," Roenicke said. Braun is scheduled to take batting practice on the field Saturday and Monday. When Braun is ready to be activated, he won't be sent on a rehab assignment, Roenicke said. ... Wheeler's two-out single to right in the third was his first major league hit. . Josh Edgin pitched the final 1 1-3 innings for his first save in two opportunities.