Gee out of whack from start, Mets can't recover
Starter allows six runs, plunks two, walks four and throws three wild pitches
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Dillon Gee's control deserted him on Thursday, and the Tigers were more than happy to take advantage.
Miguel Cabrera's two-run single highlighted a six-run attack against Gee, who hit two batters, threw three wild pitches and walked four Tigers over two innings. Matt Tuiasosopo added a two-run homer for the visitors at Tradition Field, who finished with a 9-1 victory over the Mets.
The trouble started early for Gee, who loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman in the first. Gee then walked Alex Avila to force in a run, and plunked Avisail Garcia to plate another.
Another walk and two wild pitches put a pair of runners in scoring position for the Tigers in the second inning, allowing Cabrera to come through with his two-run single. Two batters later, Tuiasosopo launched his first spring home run over the left-field wall.
"I don't know what happened," Gee said. "I literally just could not throw the baseball anywhere I wanted it to go. It happens, but we'll keep working and figure it out."
Cabrera finished 2-for-4 with two singles, two RBIs and two runs scored. He and first baseman Prince Fielder were both scheduled to make the 2 1/2-hour trip from Lakeland, Fla., but a flat tire forced Fielder to turn around on Florida's Turnpike.
"That was a pretty good replacement today," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Tuiasosopo, who subbed for Fielder at first base and also had an RBI double. "I don't think it'll be the Lou Gehrig story, but. ... That [homer] was a bomb against the wind. That was the loudest ball of the spring."
The Mets fought back off Tigers starter Doug Fister in the bottom of the second inning, rallying for their first run on a Mike Baxter walk and consecutive singles by Zach Lutz and Anthony Recker. But Fister escaped that jam with a strikeout and a double play, then mowed down the side in order in the third and struck out the final three batters he faced in the fourth. Fister exited after that, having limited the Mets to one run on three hits and two walks.
Tigers closer candidate Bruce Rondon tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning with a strikeout.
Up next for the Mets: Assuming Johan Santana begins the season on the disabled list, Jeremy Hefner will assume the fifth spot in New York's rotation. He will continue prepping for that contingency Friday at Disney, where he starts a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Braves, live on MLB.TV. Closer Bobby Parnell will also make the trip for the Mets.