New York Mets' Michael Conforto (30) and Asdrubal Cabrera (13) celebrate with teammates after a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, May 20, 2016, in New York. The Mets won 3-2. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II
May 20, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) One night after an especially ugly loss at Citi Field, it was two of New York's top young talents who steadied the defending NL champions.

Steven Matz pitched seven smooth innings to win his sixth consecutive start, Michael Conforto hit a two-run homer and the Mets beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 on Friday.

''It is nice to get that one after a rough series,'' Conforto said. ''It feels like now we're headed in the right direction.''

After skipping a turn in the rotation last weekend and receiving an injection for his sore elbow, Matz (6-1) picked up right where he left off in his previous outing May 9 at Dodger Stadium. The rookie left-hander limited the Brewers to three hits while improving to 10-1 over 13 regular-season starts in the majors.

Pain-free and sharp as a tack, Matz struck out eight and walked none as the Mets won for only the second time in eight games. His healthy outing provided a sigh of relief and a timely boost after scuffling teammate Matt Harvey was hit hard and booed loudly Thursday night in the low point of his career, a 9-1 loss to the rival Nationals.

''We needed it bad. We were really short in the `pen,'' manager Terry Collins said. ''Tremendous outing. Matter of fact, we're thinking about giving Harv a shot tomorrow, just for the hell of it. Seems to be working.''

The only real hiccup for Matz came when Chris Carter connected for his 13th home run, a two-run shot to center field on a 2-2 pitch in the first. After that, Matz retired 15 straight batters before Hernan Perez singled with two outs in the sixth.

''I'm a rhythm pitcher, so I got into the rhythm,'' said Matz, who worked quickly and threw 88 pitches in a crisp game that took 2 hours, 31 minutes. ''We just kind of got into that groove, but I didn't really change anything. It's just one pitch.''

Perez was promptly caught stealing by catcher Rene Rivera, a call that was overturned upon replay review. Milwaukee never managed another baserunner - in fact, the Brewers did not strand anyone all night.

''We did a good job of hitting with guys on base,'' manager Craig Counsell joked. ''You have to give yourself opportunities.''

Addison Reed tossed a perfect eighth and Jeurys Familia closed flawlessly for his 14th save in as many chances.

With the Mets trailing 2-1, Asdrubal Cabrera singled to start the sixth and Conforto went opposite field to left against Wily Peralta (2-5) for his seventh home run. The ball cleared the shortened fence at Citi Field, near the 358-foot sign.

''Having that approach and going the other way is something that I'm really working on right now and something that will help me in the future,'' Conforto said. ''I think it's a good sign for me to be able to go the other way with power.''

Peralta, a 17-game winner in 2014, gave Milwaukee an encouraging outing after struggling early this year. He yielded six hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking two.

''Better rhythm today. I think I was commanding better, too,'' Peralta said. ''Between starts, I've been working on not thinking much, just grabbing the ball and executing.''

Rivera drove in New York's first run with a groundout in the second after Neil Walker drew a leadoff walk and went to third on Lucas Duda's single.

RING DAY

Brewers outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis and reliever Carlos Torres, role players who helped the Mets reach the World Series last season, received their 2015 NL championship rings from Collins and assistant GM John Ricco outside the Milwaukee clubhouse. Ricco brought over gift bags, and Collins thanked both players for their contributions. ''We miss you, and congratulations on your success,'' he told Nieuwenhuis.

IMPRESSIVE STUFF

Matz has a 1.35 ERA and 42 strikeouts over 40 innings in his last six starts. ... Kazuhisa Ishii is the only other lefty since 1900 to win 10 of his first 13 major league starts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Ishii was 10-2 after 13 starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002. ... Matz is the lone pitcher in Mets history to win 10 of his first 11 career decisions.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: LF Ryan Braun missed his third straight game with a stiff back. ... Milwaukee placed RF Domingo Santana on the 15-day DL with a sore right shoulder and recalled speedy Keon Broxton from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Mets: 3B David Wright (spinal stenosis) received a scheduled day off, but could play both afternoon games this weekend, Collins said. Eric Campbell started at third and made a diving play in the ninth. ... Familia's left knee was wrapped in ice after he knocked down a comebacker for the final out. He said he was fine.

UP NEXT

Weather permitting, Milwaukee RHP Zach Davies (1-3, 5.58 ERA) starts the middle game of the series Saturday afternoon against RHP Jacob deGrom (3-1, 2.50).

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