Once again, the New York Mets were a lost cause at Citi Field.
The Mets set a most dubious record Friday night, beaten by Prince Fielder and the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1 in a rainy, testy matchup.
The Mets became the first team in major league history to lose the opening game in their first 10 homestands of a season, STATS LLC said.
Fielder hit a pair of RBI singles and later confronted Mets reliever Tim Byrdak in a late dustup that caused the benches and bullpens to empty.
“That’s the result you can expect with a good offensive club like that over there,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Shaun Marcum pitched the Brewers to their 20th win in 23 games, giving them a season-high 7½-game lead in the NL Central. They closed out this testy victory at 12:51 a.m.
Only a couple thousand fans were still at Citi Field at the end. Those who left early missed the Fielder-Byrdak problems in the eighth inning. There were no punches or ejections.
Fielder, who delighted Mets fans by signing dozens of autographs before the game, kept doing more damage against their team. He already was 2 for 2 with two walks when he came up in the eighth, and Byrdak’s first pitch was a fastball at Fielder’s chest that backed him away from the plate.
“The pitch was fine,” Fielder said.
Fielder grounded out on the next pitch, then took a sudden right turn after hitting first base, curling back to intercept Byrdak on the way to the dugout.
“I was talking about myself,” Fielder said. “He said something I didn’t like.”
“I had a question I had to get off my chest,” he said.
Collins, Mets catcher Josh Thole and plate umpire Angel Campos intervened to prevent any escalation between the big slugger and slightly built reliever.
“He said something coming out of the box, I said something back,” Byrdak said. “I was real surprised. It was said in passing, I thought it would stay that way.”
“I thought it was directed towards me. The whole thing was blown out of proportion,” he said.
Said Collins: “He hit the ball real hard, and of course we had the shift on him. He was more mad at himself, so he was yelling. He thought Timmy said something to him.”
Order was quickly restored and Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez, traded from the Mets to Milwaukee during the All-Star break, put his arm around New York bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello as they headed back to the bullpens.
Brewers reliever Frankie De La Cruz plunked Mike Baxter in the ninth, without incident.
Fielder’s big night made him 7 for 13 with three home runs against the Mets this season.
“It’s all settled now. It’s cool,” he said.
For a while, it looked as if this game would be a washout. The first pitch was delayed for 2 hours, 46 minutes because of an approaching storm that eventually brought rain, lightning, thunder and gusting winds.
The announced attendance was 24,470 and the Mets rewarded all fans with a free ticket for a game against Washington next month.
Brewers star Ryan Braun wasn’t around at the end, either. He looked at strike three in the third inning, loitered in the batter’s box and was eventually ejected by Campos. Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke came out to argue, too, injecting a little excitement into his 55th birthday.
“Short night, extra recovery for tomorrow,” Braun said.
Marcum (11-3) improved to 4-0 in nine starts since losing at Yankee Stadium on June 29. He allowed one run in seven innings.
Mike Pelfrey (6-10) went five innings in his first start since Arizona’s Gerardo Parra hit a line drive off his right elbow last Saturday. Pelfrey threw eight pitches in relief this week, just to make certain he was OK.
Casey McGehee hit two run-scoring singles and Yuniesky Betancourt broke an 0-for-16 rut with an RBI double.
NOTES: The 1913 Reds and 1987 White Sox each lost the opener of their first nine homestands. … Mets SS Jose Reyes (strained left hamstring) ran for the first time since re-injuring himself. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday, but Collins says Reyes will probably be sidelined longer than that. … Brewers LHP Randy Wolf (10-8) will try to win his fifth straight start when he pitches Saturday. He is 12-5 lifetime vs. the Mets. LHP Chris Capuano (9-10) starts for the Mets against his former team. He turned 33 on Friday.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.