MILWAUKEE — On the final pitch of the fourth inning of what was shaping up as his best start of the year, Jason Vargas felt a pull in his left hamstring. That was weird, he thought.
In the clubhouse, as the Mets batted, Vargas tested his leg with the athletic training staff. That didn’t go well, and his game was over.
That meant another long day for the bullpen on Sunday in the Mets’ 3-2 loss to the Brewers. Swept for the first time this season, the Mets (16-18) have three wins in their past 11 games and are averaging 2.55 runs per game in that span.
Vargas will be re-evaluated Monday, manager Mickey Callaway said. The Mets aren’t sure how serious the hamstring issue is or if Vargas will have to go on the injured list.
“When my foot hit the ground, my hamstring grabbed me different than you would normally feel it,” Vargas said. “We tried to re-create pitching and going through the motion of throwing toward home, but it set it off again. It wasn’t anything crippling, but I think it was definitely the right thing to do, especially with getting to tomorrow and putting ourselves in the best position to limit it.”
Before his abrupt exit, Vargas (5.92 ERA) was giving the Mets exactly what they needed — an efficient, effective start — after their 18-inning loss Saturday. He allowed three runs and threw only 50 pitches before being physically unable to continue, which ruined Callaway’s plan to have Vargas use his entire 105-pitch limit.
Looking and feeling about as good as he has at any point this season, Vargas yielded three hits, struck out five and walked none. “My fastball command was pretty good today. I guess you could just say that was probably the best that it’s been,” he said. “As far as limiting my pitch count and getting through innings, that was for sure the best outing that I had started to put together.”
Vargas’ only non-injury trouble came in the third, when rightfielder Keon Broxton let Orlando Arcia’s routine line drive go over his head for a double. That turned Lorenzo Cain’s flyout to left — the would-be third out — into a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Christian Yelich crushed a two-run homer 440 feet to right.
Broxton (1-for-3), who is hitting .156 with a .402 OPS, said he had a problem with the sun. “Day games here in Miller Park,
it’s pretty tough to see, especially going up into the stands with the bright lighting and stuff like that,” said Broxton, who played with the Brewers from 2016-18. “It was a bad judgment by me. The ball carried a little bit farther than I thought it would. I tried to jump but my foot just stayed on the ground. It was definitely a bad read on my part.”
The Mets’ offense — with Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos on the bench — stayed quiet, this time against righthander Zach Davies. He tossed 118 pitches in 7 2⁄3 innings and held the Mets to two runs. Tomas Nido had an RBI single in the fifth and Juan Lagares made it a one-run game with a solo homer in the seventh. That was the Mets’ last hit.
Amed Rosario (3-for-4) had half of the Mets’ hits.
Tim Peterson (2 1⁄3 innings), Daniel Zamora ( one-third) and Tyler Bashlor (1 1⁄3) combined for four scoreless innings. Peterson and Bashlor were called up in the aftermath of Saturday’s marathon.
Callaway didn’t have much in terms of answers before the Mets flew to San Diego on Sunday night.
“We still need to be better than we are,” he said. “We’ve still got to figure out a way to win. That’s what this game is all about: figuring it out, no matter what. We definitely need to do a better job in that regard.”