By BILL WHITEHEAD/Associated Press
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) – Doug Fister did all he could to keep the ball in the park on a blustery day at Tradition Field.
Fister pitched into the fifth inning and Austin Jackson had two extra-base hits for the Detroit Tigers in a 9-4 victory over a New York Mets split squad Sunday.
Don Kelly hit a two-run homer off Mets reliever Brandon Lyon in a five-run seventh that gave Detroit a 9-2 lead. Jackson had an RBI triple in the inning to go with his run-scoring double in the fourth.
Matt Harvey went five innings for the Mets, allowing four runs – three earned – and five hits. Minor league center fielder Matt den Dekker broke his right wrist trying to make a leaping catch.
Fister, acquired from Seattle in 2011, has been fighting through a tough spring. He gave up two runs on four hits and four walks in 4 2-3 innings Sunday for his second Grapefruit League win.
With the wind blowing straight out to left field, he struck out four and lowered his ERA from 7.36 to 6.52.
“He’s a good big league pitcher. He takes the ball, he throws strikes, he keeps the game going. He keeps the infielders on their toes because he works fast and throws strikes,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “He was a terrific find for us, really. That trade has worked out terrific so far. We expect him to continue to be a good pitcher for us.”
Lyon’s rough outing began with a grounder that Omar Infante legged out for a double. Jackson then hit a wind-blown drive to center, and den Dekker nearly made a terrific catch. He had the ball momentarily but crashed hard at the base of the wall, landing awkwardly on his right wrist as Jackson pulled into third with a triple.
The Mets said X-rays revealed a broken right wrist for den Dekker, who was headed to New York. An upper-level minor leaguer with strong defensive skills, he made a highlight-reel catch earlier in the game.
“He nicked it up pretty good,” Mets manager Terry Collins said before the X-ray results came back. “I’m pretty concerned about it.”
Harvey opened the game by striking out Jackson, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera. The AL champion Tigers, on a two-day swing to the east coast of Florida, brought their regulars on the trip.
Harvey finished with five strikeouts and three walks. In his final inning, he struck out Prince Fielder looking and induced a double-play ball off the bat of Victor Martinez after an error by shortstop Omar Quintanilla to open the inning.
“I was kind of feeling for everything today. Everything felt good, and I tried to do a little bit too much,” Harvey said.
He credited catcher John Buck with settling him down.
“He did a great job picking up on that. That’s the veteran and what he brings to the table. Everything clicked toward the end,” Harvey said. “That fifth inning is what I wanted to do from the beginning.”
Justin Turner had three hits for the Mets, including two doubles. Bobby Parnell, stepping in as the closer due to Frank Francisco’s elbow injury, tossed a scoreless inning.
The 33-year-old Lyon, who agreed to a $750,000, one-year deal last month, figures to be a setup man for Parnell. The 11-year veteran could also get chances to close.
“I’ve been in every situation and feel comfortable in any situation in the bullpen. For me, I just go out there and pitch. I don’t really think about what inning it is. I don’t get more ramped up if it’s the ninth,” said Lyon, who has 79 career saves. “I just try to go out there, be aggressive and do my job. I feel like I can help this team a lot in any situation.”
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