The Tigers hit five home runs tonight and the Mets outscored them by seven runs. Each Mets batter reached base at least twice. That makes 52 runs in the last 4 games. It's a remarkable offensive display, especially considering the paucity of Mets dingers. Our heroes have hit just three homers during the 52 run stretch -- maybe they truly are rally killers.
The runs parade began with a four spot in the first inning against overmatched Tigers starter Phil Coke. Jose Reyes led off with a single up the middle, went to second base on a pickoff play error by notorious imbiber Miguel Cabrera, stole third against "catcher" Victor Martinez, then scored on a wild pitch. Reyes is now batting .392 in the first inning. A Ron Paulino single, Jason Bay walk and Angel Pagan single loaded the bases for Scott Hairston, who was in the lineup because of his main skill -- hitting lefties for power. Hairston lived up to that rep, smacking a bases-clearing triple to right center and providing Mets starter Chris Capuano with a nice cushion.
Capuano allowed solo homers to Ryan Raburn and Cabrera in the third and fourth innings, respectively, but he pitched well through five innings (six strikeouts, no walks) as the Mets extended their lead to 8-2. However, he became Crapuano in the sixth inning, surrendering a mammoth 454 foot three-run home run to Cabrera before Terry Collins pulled the plug. The Mets lineup shrugged its collective shoulders and went back to work, scoring another eight runs in the final three innings to quash worries of a classic bullpen meltdown.
Terry Collins had a senior moment in the seventh inning. He called to the bullpen for Tim Byrdak to face lefthanded hitting Andy Dirks with a man on base. Just one problem -- Byrdak wasn't warming up. Bobby Parnell was the only one throwing in the 'pen at the time. Byrdak entered more-or-less cold and allowed a two-run homer to Dirks on a hanging breaking ball to cut the Mets' lead to 10-8. Luckily, Byrdak's teammates picked him up with some runs, so this shouldn't be a lingering discussion point. Collins owned up to his mistake after the game.
Here are the three guadiest Mets stat lines of the night:
Angel Pagan: 4-for-6 with 2 doubles
Ron Paulino: 4-for-6 with 2 doubles
Jason Bay: 1-for-2 with 4(!) walks
Pagan did much of his damage from the right side, an encouraging sign. His OPS is up to .717. Paulino has been terrific, triple slashing .346/.387/.442. Get him a few more at-bats and he'll challenge Reyes for the batting title. No one in tonight's lineup has an OBP lower than .322. Dave Hudgens FTW?
With two outs in the ninth inning, following a Pagan double, Tigers manager Jim Leyland had finally seen enough of his gas can bullpen. He brought in outfielder Don Kelly to face Hairston. Kelly was throwing mid-80s heat and retired Hairston, who is probably facing a kangaroo court fine, on a pop-out.
Justin Verlander is slated to start Thursday at 1:05 PM but he's probably deciding on a phantom injury to bug out of facing the Murderer's Row Mets. Mike Pelfrey pitches for the good guys.