MILWAUKEE -- Jeremy Hefner spent much of the early season saddled with the label of "Most Likely to Be Demoted in Favor of Zack Wheeler." Josh Satin would have been lucky to claim even that much.
But in the Mets' 2-1 victory over the Brewers Sunday afternoon, it was Hefner and Satin who did the heavy lifting.
Hefner allowed one run in seven innings and tied a career high with eight strikeouts. Satin doubled twice, singled, drove in one run and scored the other as the Mets began their 10-day road trip by taking two of three from the Brewers. Bobby Parnell collected a four-out save for the Mets, who continue their road trip Monday night in San Francisco.
"I did enough to get ahead in the count and then was able to expand the zone, and they chased," said Hefner, who has benefited from adjustments in his delivery that have created more deception.
His only mistake of the afternoon came in the seventh inning when he grooved an 0-and-2 fastball that Jonathan Lucroy hit over the centerfield fence.
"His stuff's good enough," manager Terry Collins said. "He's just got to command it better, and he knew it."
Satin continued to make the most of his promotion from Triple-A Las Vegas, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. The Mets initially called him up to help fill in for Ike Davis, the struggling first baseman sent to the minors to work on his faulty swing. But Satin has played himself into a more active role.
Davis returned Friday and has reached base in seven of his first 11 plate appearances. But with the Brewers starting lefty Tom Gorzelanny, Collins started Satin over Davis.
Collins stopped short of declaring a platoon at first base, though Satin likely will be in the lineup Tuesday night, when the Giants are scheduled to pitch lefty Barry Zito.
Satin is 13-for-27 (.481) with seven doubles against lefthanded pitching this season. "I'm just happy that I've been able to contribute and show them that I should be playing a little bit at least," he said. "To me, now I feel like the days that I don't play, when the game's on the line, he's going to put me in. I can't really ask much more than that."
The Mets scored two unearned runs, both aided by third baseman Juan Francisco's throwing errors. Satin scored the first run of the game in the fourth, when he lucked out while stretching a single into a two-out double. He was called safe, but replays indicated that he was out. Satin later scored when Francisco made a poor throw after barehanding a grounder by Andrew Brown.
Satin made it 2-0 in the sixth when he doubled to drive in Marlon Byrd, who had reached on an infield hit and reached second on Francisco's throwing error.
Hefner (4-6) made the lead stand up. In each of his last seven starts, he has not allowed more than two earned runs, a drastic turnaround from his earlier struggles. He began the year as the team's sixth option for the starting rotation, and his emergence has come as injuries have depleted the rotation.
"Just trying to survive, I think," Hefner said. "I was maybe one or two bad starts away from being in Las Vegas."
Hefner's 12 quality starts rank second on the team to Matt Harvey's 14. His 1.64 ERA since June 4 is second best in the majors behind Miami's Jose Fernandez.
Whether Hefner's bump in performance is sustainable remains far from certain, though by performing like an All-Star, he at least has cemented his standing in the rotation. Said Collins: "He's proven himself."