NEW YORK— It was muggy, there was a huge thunderstorm, but none of that slowed the Mets down on Tuesday night. Facing Detroit Tigers' ace Justin Verlander, after not scoring in 15 straight innings against the Yankees, the Mets' bats exploded.
They put up two quick runs in the first after the first two batters. Jose Reyes dribbled one to third and beat out a hit, Angel Pagan drove him in with a long triple to center. He then scored on a David Wright sacrifice fly, making it 2-0, but the Mets were just getting started.
In the third inning, David Wright led off with a walk, Ike Davis singled him to third on a hit-and-run, and Jason Bay scored Wright with a double, making it 3-0.
With runners on second and third with none out, the game was stopped as it started pouring rain. After a 58-minute rain delay, Tigers' manager Jim Leyland decided to pull Justin Verlander, replacing him with Jay Sborz, making his Major League debut.
The debut of Jay Sborz was one of the worst debuts in recent memory. He hit Rod Barajas to load the bases and then hit Jeff Francoeur to force in a run. He became the first pitcher to hit the first two batters of a Major League career since Justin Miller in 2002 with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Up 4-0 with the bases loaded and still no outs, the Mets poured it on like the rains that came. Jose Reyes singled in a run, Angel Pagan singled in two runs, Ike Davis drove in two with a double, as the Mets scored eight runs in the third, extending their lead to 10-0 for Jon Niese.
The Tigers would respond with two runs in the fourth on a Brennan Boesch two-run home run, the rookie's 11th home run of the season. An Angel Pagan RBI double in the fourth made it 11-2, as Pagan finished 4-for-6, with 4 RBI, a home run short of the cycle. In fact, each of the first four Mets in the order recorded at least three or more hits.
Entering the fifth inning with a nine-run lead, needing only three outs to qualify for a fourth consecutive win, Jon Niese struggled. The Tigers scored four runs, highlighted by an RBI double by Austin Jackson. After allowing a two-out walk to Brandon Inge, Niese was pulled by Jerry Manuel, as he couldn't get a victory.
Fernando Nieve replaced him and struck out four straight batters after allowing a run-scoring hit. After the Tigers' fifth, the Mets lead was down to 11-6.
With the Tigers sniffing a monumental come back, the Mets put a kibosh on those plans, scoring three more runs in the sixth off Tigers' reliever Fu-Te Ni. The inning got off to a weird start. Jose Reyes struck out but catcher Gerald Laird had it get past him as Reyes reached first base safely. Angel Pagan singled, and David Wright followed with an RBI double. Ike Davis singled in a run, Jason Bay added a sacrifice fly, as the Mets took a 14-6 lead.
In the eighth, Bobby Parnell made his 2010 season debut for the Mets and did well, walking a batter and striking out two.
The Mets went on to get the big 14-6 win, improving to 25-10 at home this season. Angel Pagan made a huge statement, having a four-hit game on a night that it was announced that Carlos Beltran will begin a rehab assignment on Thursday, and could be back within the next 20 days.
For now though, the Mets continue to roll, taking the first game of a tough six-game home stand. They are now 40-30 through the first 70 games of the season and will go for the series win tomorrow night, with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (5-0) on the mound, opposing Jeremy Bonderman.
NL East standings (top 3 teams)
NY Mets 40-30 (1.5)
Philadelphia 36-32 (4.5)
Series probable pitchers:
New York: R.A. Dickey (2010: 5-0, 2.82 ERA) vs. Detroit: Jeremy Bonderman (2010: 3-4, 4.06 ERA)
New York: Hisanori Takahashi (2010: 6-2, 3.13 ERA) vs. Detroit: Armando Galarraga (2010: 2-1, 3.32 ERA)
New York Mets:
June 23-24 vs. Detroit Tigers
June 25-27 vs. Minnesota Twins
June 23-24 @ New York Mets
June 25-27 @ Atlanta Braves