Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Preview: 2011 Regular Season Game 80 - Mets at Tigers


New York Mets (40-39) at Detroit Tigers (43-37), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: NY Mets - Chris Capuano (6-7, 3.99) Detroit - Phil Coke (1-7, 4.32)

The New York Mets exploded offensively on Tuesday to move above .500 for the first time since the first week of the season. Tonight, they shoot for a series win when they play the middle test of their three-game inter-league set against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran each cleared the bases in the fourth and fifth inning, respectively, to break a 299-game drought without a grand slam, as the Mets rolled to a commanding 14-3 win.

The large offensive output saw a season-high in hits (18) that included Jose Reyes' 4-for-4 showing at the plate. The victory also put the Mets over the .500 mark (40-39) since the team was 3-2.

"We're not one of those bopping teams," Bay admitted. "We're more of a string two or three hits together instead of a bloop and a blast. It was nice to show that we can still hit the ball out of the ballpark."

The offense overshadowed a solid start by R.A. Dickey (4-7), who allowed three runs on 10 hits and struck out six over seven innings.



"It sure feels like the beginning of the season, if we were at all," Dickey said about his team having a winning record. "Hopefully this is going to be that resistance point that when we break through we can really continue to go."

Austin Jackson had a two-run homer and Andy Dirks added a solo shot for Detroit, which had a three-game winning streak stopped.

Tigers starter Rick Porcello (6-6) continued his recent struggles, yielding seven runs on 11 hits in just 3 2/3 innings. Over his last three starts, he has given up 21 runs in 11 1/3 frames.

Heading to the hill for the Mets tonight will be lefty Chris Capuano, who has won three of his last four starts. Capuano beat the Oakland Athletics on Thursday, scattering five hits over six scoreless innings before leaving with cramps in his right side. He also struck out seven without walking a batter and improved to 6-7 on the year to go along with a 3.99 ERA.

"I had decent separation between my change-up and fastball today, which I was able to get some strikeouts in early," Capuano said. "They adjusted to it later in the game, but early I was able to get some swings."

Capuano beat the Tigers the only other time he faced them, yielding three runs and seven hits in seven innings.

Detroit, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Phil Coke, who is just 1-7 with a 4.32 ERA. Coke did not get a decision on Friday against Arizona, but was not good, as he allowed six runs (five earned) in 4 2/3 innings of his team's 7-6 loss.

Coke has never started a game against the Mets, but has faced them four times out of the bullpen and has yet to surrender a run.

The Mets won two of three at home versus the Tigers last year, but dropped two of three in their last trip to Detroit in 2007.
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