Mets can't keep up with Tigers

Mets' bullpen struggles in loss to Tigers

at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Friday, March 9

Tigers at the plate: Mike Hessman, who has quite legit power, got an assist from a stiff breeze and hit a three-run home run over the left-field wall in the fourth inning against Philip Humber. Sean Casey had singles in his first two at-bats. After his ground ball to third -- and apparent unassisted force out -- was ruled foul, Kody Kirkland cleared the bases with two outs in the seventh. An attempted diving catch by David Newhan on a ball hit by Chris Shelton was unsuccessful. The ball reached the wall for a run-scoring double. In the eighth, Ramon Santiago hit the first pitch Jon Adkins threw for a home run.

Mets at the plate: Carlos Beltran, batting third, drove in Jose Reyes with a wind-blown home run in the first inning off Kenny Rogers. Shawn Green roped a single to left in his first at-bat and doubled in a run in the eighth. Ramon Castro's double off Virgil Vasquez in the fifth inning tied the score at three. Seven Mets had one hit each.

Tigers on the mound: In his second exhibition game start, Rogers made conspicuous improvement. He pitched four innings, and if not for the wind-aided home run by Beltran, he would have shut down the Mets. He allowed four other hits, walked none and struck out two.

Mets on the mound: Humber, in his second appearance of the exhibition season, allowed three runs on two hits and two walks in three innings. His ERA dropped to 24.00, nonetheless. Billy Wagner threw a scoreless sixth. Aaron Heilman allowed the four runs in the seventh. Adkins, who began the day with a 9.00 ERA, kept it that way, allowing two runs in his two innings.

Grapefruit League records: Tigers 6-3; Mets 3-7.

Up next: The Mets begin their bus purgatory Saturday when they make the 90-plus-minute drive to play the Nationals in Viera. Oliver Perez is to make his third exhibition game start, beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET, opposite Tim Redding. It will be Mets' first exposure to the team now managed by Manny Acta, their third-base coach in Willie Randolph's first two years.

The Tigers return home to Lakeland to face the Red Sox at 1:05, with Justin Verlander facing Josh Beckett in a battle of hard-throwing right-handers.

Marty Noble is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.