Galarraga a winner as Tigers hold off Mets

NEW YORK -- Armando Galarraga gave up a few liners, got nicked by some bloopers and hurt himself with an untimely walk. Added up, it still was enough to win for the first time since his near-perfect game.

Phil Coke had a lot to do with that.

Coke struck out David Wright in a key spot and the Detroit Tigers held off the New York Mets 6-5 Thursday night to avert a three-game sweep at Citi Field.

"It got a little hairy there," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Magglio Ordonez and Ryan Raburn homered as the Tigers built a 6-1 lead through five innings. But a leadoff walk to Jose Reyes helped the Mets score three times in the sixth, and they kept rallying in the seventh after Eddie Bonine relieved Galarraga.

Chris Carter's RBI single made it 6-5 and, after Coke took over, Jesus Feliciano chopped an infield single that loaded the bases with one out.

That brought up Wright, the NL RBI leader. Fans got on their feet, sensing a big hit.

"You can't be allowing the level of the crowd noise or who's at the dish to get into your head," Coke said.

After Coke threw two balls, Wright took shaky swings at the next five pitches -- two misses, two fouls and then strike three.

"He didn't throw me a pitch that I could handle," Wright said. "I was fighting to put the ball in play. That's kind of how good the stuff he has is."

Coke retired Ike Davis on a long fly to center field to end the inning and preserve the one-run edge.

"We were able to put the brakes on them," Coke said.

Galarraga (3-1) drew polite applause when he was announced before the game, fans still appreciating his show of sportsmanship after an umpire's missed call deprived him of perfection on June 2. The right-hander had received no-decisions in all three starts since.

Galarraga held the Mets hitless until Feliciano's liner fooled left fielder Brennan Boesch and sailed over the rookie for a leadoff double in the fourth. Wright hit an RBI double in the sixth and made a headfirst dive home on Jason Bay's single to get the Mets within 6-4.

The Mets threatened again in the eighth with a pair of two-out singles off Joel Zumaya. Carter sliced a drive to left and Boesch, having a tough day in the field, made a running catch toward the line.

Boesch doubled in the ninth for his third hit and Don Kelly took over as a defensive replacement in the bottom half.

Jose Valverde closed with a perfect ninth for his 17th straight save, striking out Wright to end it. The Mets had won 14 of 17 overall.

"I gave my team a chance to win, I got the W. That's your job every time you take the mound," Galarraga said.

Mets starter Hisanori Takahashi (6-3) proudly showed off a Japanese soccer jersey in the clubhouse before the game and watched on an overhead TV set as his home country beat Denmark to advance in the World Cup.

But Takahashi didn't go very far. He was pulled after a walk to Boesch loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth and reliever Elmer Dessens promptly walked Brandon Inge to force home a run.

The Tigers twice turned leadoff walks into runs. Miguel Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly in the first for his major league-leading 61st RBI.

Game notes
The Tigers optioned RHP Jay Sborz to Triple-A Toledo after the game. He made his big league debut Tuesday night and gave up five runs while getting two outs. LHP Andy Oliver will come up Friday night to make his big league debut and start at Atlanta. ... Mets star Carlos Beltran (right knee) played his first game on a rehab assignment at Class-A Port St. Lucie. He went 0 for 2 with a walk and did not get a play in center field before leaving after five innings. ... Galarraga had been winless in six road starts since last June 30. ... Mets CF Angel Pagan sat out, a day after leaving because of spasms in his side. C Rod Barajas did not start because of tightness in his back ... Feliciano made a nice sliding catch on Danny Worth's flare to center field in the fourth.