All it took for the Tigers to defeat the Mets this afternoon was one bad inning from Matt Harvey. The 24-year-old ace of the team’s pitching staff gave up thirteen hits on the afternoon, but he only surrendered two runs, both in the second inning.
After giving up a pair of ultimately harmless singles in the first, Harvey surrendered a double to Andy Dirks and a single to Brayan Pena to begin the second. One fly out later, a double off the bat of opposing pitcher Max Scherzer plated Dirks for the first run of the game. And Austin Jackson followed up with a single to score Pena.
Scherzer did more harm to the Mets with his arm than his bat, though. Through four innings, he gave up just one hit and one walk—both to Ike Davis—with eight strikeouts. Juan Lagares worked an excellent plate appearance to begin the sixth and walked on twelve pitches, but two outs and a walk to Matt Harvey later, Eric Young struck out to end the inning.
The Mets got their best chance of the afternoon in the sixth, however, as Scherzer clearly wore down with a high pitch count. Daniel Murphy led off with a single, and Ike Davis hit a one-out double to move him to third. Wilmer Flores drew the fourth walk of the game—a season high for Scherzer—to load the bases, but Lagares struck out and John Buck popped up the first pitch he saw for an easy out to shortstop to end the inning.
Harvey’s final pitching line—6.2 innings, 4 strikeouts, 0 walks, and 2 runs—could have been made uglier in the seventh inning as he gave up four singles, but he got a little help. With one out and runners on first and second, Prince Fielder singled, but Eric Young threw out Omar Infante, whose slide was terrible, at home plate for the second out of the inning.
Matt Tuiasosopo then singled, and although Miguel Cabrera clearly wasn’t going to attempt to score on the play, Fielder ran nearly all the way to third base. John Buck apparently didn’t notice the mishap and couldn’t even get off a throw before the slow slugger got all the way back to second base. That was it for Harvey, who was replaced by Scott Rice as left-handed Andy Dirks was due up. The Tigers countered with pinch hitter Torii Hunter, and Rice induced a ground ball to short. Omar Quintanilla bobbled the ball and tossed it to Murphy at second, where the umpire called the runner out. Replays indicated he was safe, but Harvey and the Mets caught a break.
The Mets never had another baserunner after they failed to score in the sixth inning, and the Tigers tacked on an unnecessary insurance run, which was charged to Gonzalez Germen in his second inning of work, in the top of the ninth.
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Win Probability Added
Big winners: Ike Davis, +17.9% WPA
Big losers: John Buck, -19.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ike’s double in the sixth, +13.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Scherzer’s double in the second, -13.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +2.0% WPA
Total batter WPA: -52.0% WPA
GWRBI!: Max Scherzer