Saturday, March 8, 2014
Mets 3, Tigers 2: Clark provides winning hit
By Adam Rubin
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Matt Clark delivered a two-run double against Justin Miller in the top of the ninth and Gonzalez Germen produced a save in the bottom half as the Mets rallied to beat the Detroit Tigers, 3-2, Saturday at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Noah Syndergaard had surrendered two runs over the first three innings, but Jacob deGrom, Adam Kolarek, Joel Carreņo, Jeff Walters and Germen combined to limit the Tigers to three hits and two walks over six scoreless innings.
Trailing 2-0, the Mets loaded the bases with none out in the sixth against ex-Yankees left-hander Phil Coke -- on Juan Lagares’ single to center, Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ walk and Josh Satin’s trickler down the third-base line for an infield single.
But the Mets came away with only one run that inning. Andrew Brown grounded into a run-scoring double play. And Eric Campbell, who had driven in the game-tying run in the ninth inning Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals was robbed of a potential extra-base hit by diving left fielder Ezequiel Carrera, a former Mets farmhand traded away in the J.J. Putz deal on Dec. 11, 2008.
DeGrom, who is expected to be ticketed for the Triple-A rotation with Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, walked Nick Castellanos in a scoreless fourth. He allowed a one-out double to Ian Kinsler in the fifth, but Kinsler was doubled off second base on Carrera’s ensuing lineout.
“I’m happy with where I’m at right now,” deGrom said. “I’ve just got to work on commanding the ball a little better because today I didn’t really. Luckily, it didn’t cost me."
Eric Young Jr., manning second base for the first time in a 2014 Grapefruit League game, went 1-for-3 with two groundouts to the pitcher. He did have a game-opening bunt single. Terry Collins has asked EY Jr. to bunt more frequently in an attempt to utilize his speed and lift his on-base percentage (.318 with the Mets last season).
“I came into the camp wanting to put the ball on the ground more, use my speed to my advantage,” Young said. “The only way you’re going to get that done is by trying it in the game -- whether you’re successful or not.”
Clark, by the way, signed with the Mets on a minor-league contract Jan. 31. Although the Mets already had three lefty-hitting first basemen coming to camp -- Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Brandon Allen -- Clark was still a free agent as spring training approached and the Mets decided to ink him. They were enticed by the 25 homers he hit last season for Chunichi in Japan.
What’s next: Zack Wheeler Day! Wheeler opposes Atlanta Braves right-hander Kris Medlen at 1:10 p.m. Sunday at Tradition Field. Carlos Torres, Kyle Farnsworth, Jose Valverde, Jack Leathersich, Jeurys Familia and Ryan Reid also are scheduled to pitch. Evan Gattis, Andrelton Simmons and B.J. Upton are due to make the trip with the Braves to Port St. Lucie.