The Detroit Tigers got off to a strong start on Wednesday with a win over the New York Mets in the first of a day-night doubleheader at Comerica Park, 6-5. Once again, the game was delayed by inclement weather but a drizzle-drenched slugfest broke out early on. Eric Haase smacked a huge two-run single in the eighth that propelled the Olde English D to victory.
The second game of the doubleheader saw an old friend take the mound opposite of one of Detroit’s recent acquisitions, with the Tigers prevailing, 8-1, to sweep the visitors for the first time in 25 doubleheaders played by the Metropolitans. Meanwhile, the Tigers earned a series win over the National League’s Big Apple squad.
Michael Lorenzen got the start for the Tigers and got through the top of the first unscathed, allowing a Francisco Lindor single but otherwise avoiding trouble for a relatively efficient 13-pitch inning. His approach had the four-seamer pounding the plate while keeping his offspeed and breaking stuff outside the zone — which worked on everyone but Lindor, who crushed his hit with a 109.9 mph exit velocity. However, his hit was erased when he tried to stretch it to a double on a tremendous tag by Javier Báez.
Get the ball to El Mago and he'll take care of the rest. pic.twitter.com/A7gXkeAQr9— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) May 3, 2023
Max Scherzer took the bump in the nightcap of the doubleheader in his first start following a suspension for illegal use of rosin 10 games ago. Zach McKinstry earned a leadoff walk before a Riley Greene single put two on for Báez who moved the runner over to third on a flyout. The Motor City Kitties struck first with a sac fly by Maton followed by a two-out double by Spencer Torkelson to plate Greene, giving the good guys an early 2-0 lead.
A single by Pete Alonso had the Mets threatening early in the bottom of the second, but a force-out moved him to second and a Mark Canha single moved him over to third base with one out. Lorenzen then got Brett Baty to fly out to left before Luis Guillorme flew out to center to end the threat.
The Tigers struck again with a solo home run off the bat of Eric Haase — his second of the season — over the left field fence to push the lead to three after Matt Vierling flew out to open the frame. Andy Ibanez followed that up with a single, but after working a nine-pitch at-bat, McKinstry flew out sharply to make it two outs. Mad Max escaped further damage by getting Greene out on a short fly to left.
If you find a hitter having a better day than Eric Haase, we'll be right here. But we probably won't believe you. pic.twitter.com/XU3t4lTWGO— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) May 3, 2023
New York got their first batter on board in the third on a fielding error by Maton at third but Lorenzen was able to get the next batter out on a spectacular play by Akil Baddoo in foul territory. The Tigers left fielder got some more work snagging the next out on a deeply-hit drive while the final out was made in right field on yet another fly ball — this time to right.
Scherzer got Báez to ground out weakly before striking out Maton and Torkelson for his first clean inning of the game. Lorenzen was not as efficient, loading the count before walking the leadoff batter which led to an RBI double off the bat of Daniel Vogelbach. A pair of groundouts and a flyout later, and the threat was ended.
Baddoo opened the bottom of the fourth with an opposite-field soft liner for a single to set the table for Vierling’s two-run jack (after showing bunt on the first pitch, no less) to push the score to 5-1. Following a Haase strikeout, Ibanez belted a liner to left field for a single and scooted over to third on a grounder up the middle on a full count by McKinstry.
That was enough for Mets manager Buck Showalter, who brought the hook out for Scherzer down by four with runners on the corners and one out. The final line for the former Tiger: 3 1⁄3 innings, five earned runs, eight hits, one walk and three strikeouts while allowing a pair of home runs on 75 pitches.
Zach Muckenhirn came in to spell the 38-year-old veteran and on his first pitch surrendered an RBI single to Greene to push the lead to five. However, he bounced back, forcing a comebacker to the mound by Báez to start a double play that ended the inning on his third pitch thrown. Tigers lead, 6-1.
Lorenzen continued his competent pitching into the fifth, getting a pair of groundouts sandwiched around a strikeout for his second clean inning of the evening. Muckenhirn also started strong in the fifth with a groundout, followed by a flyout and pop-flare to second to give him his own clear frame.
The top of the sixth opened with a four-pitch walk but a liner right back at Lorenzen doubled off the runner on first to erase that mistake. A groundout later and the Tigers starter earned his first quality start of the season.
Jose Butto took over for the Mets in the bottom of the sixth and retired the side in order. AJ Hinch decided to ride Lorenzen as long as he could and the 31-year-old veteran rewarded him with another 1-2-3 inning to extend his longest outing of the 2023 campaign so far. His final line: 7 innings, one earned run, four hits, two walks and one strikeout on 96 pitches.
Butto issued a walk to McKinstry to open the bottom half of the seventh but a Greene K and a pair of flyouts by Báez and Maton kept things succinct, giving way to Tigers reliever Tyler Holton in the top of the eighth. The lefty acquired off of waivers from the Diamondbacks during the offseason got the first out before Brandon Nimmo crushed a double off the center field wall. The fire was fortunately extinguished as the next two batters lined out and grounded out, respectively.
The Mets sent Butto back out for the bottom of the eighth and he gave up a line-drive hit to Tork on a 3-1 count to start things off. Baddoo struck out swinging for the first out but that was not enough to convince Showalter to keep his reliever in the game, replacing him with right-hander John Curtiss. He got Vierling to flyout to short right for the second out, but Haase kept the inning alive with a double just inside third base down the left field line.
With two outs and runners on second and third, Ibanez added a pair of insurance runs with a grounder outside of the shortstop’s reach. A flyout to right by Zach Short stopped the bleeding, giving Detroit an 8-1 lead heading into the final frame of the game.
Jason Foley put the final nails in the coffin with a strikeout, infield lineout and flyout to clinch the victory.
Can we get an AWOOOOOOOOOO chain in the replies? pic.twitter.com/gvsu6ejNh1— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) May 4, 2023
The two teams wrap up the three-game series on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park with the first pitch scheduled for 1:40 p.m. EDT.