Detroit at New York

Scoreboard
Detroit (75-53) «140000100680
N.Y. Mets (58-68)1000000001100

Cabrera greets Dice-K with homer as Tigers beat Mets

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

NEW YORK -- Miguel Cabrera and the hard-hitting Tigers were too much for Daisuke Matsuzaka in his return to the majors.

Cabrera hit a three-run homer, Torii Hunter also connected and Detroit tagged Matsuzaka early in his Mets debut to beat New York 6-1 on Friday night.

"When I used to catch him in Boston, he had a little more on it," Tigers slugger Victor Martinez said. "Today I think his ball was pretty straight. He left a few pitches up in the zone, and the big guys didn't miss."

Hunter added a long, two-run double and Doug Fister (11-6) pitched into the seventh inning to help Detroit win the interleague series opener. Austin Jackson went deep for the second straight day for the AL Central leaders, back in New York after dropping two of three at Yankee Stadium two weeks ago.

The series resumes Saturday afternoon with a rematch of All-Star game starters at Citi Field: Max Scherzer puts his 18-1 record on the line against New York ace Matt Harvey in a nationally televised game.

"You can't beat that matchup," Hunter said. "If you blink you're going to miss something."

The Mets said it's the first time All-Star game starters will square off in a regular-season game during the same season, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I figure this place will be hopping pretty good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It should be fun."

Minus two injured starters, the Mets signed Matsuzaka on Thursday to fill a hole in the rotation and immediately handed him a difficult assignment. Led by Cabrera and Prince Fielder, the Tigers began the night leading the majors in batting average and second in runs.

The right-hander from Japan, a former Red Sox star who had been pitching in Cleveland's farm system, got off to a promising start. Working on three days' rest and wearing No. 16, he threw a called third strike past Jackson and was ahead 0-2 on Hunter when the five-time All-Star sent a booming drive far beyond the left-field fence.

Cabrera and Fielder followed with singles, but Dice-K prevented further damage.

He wasn't as fortunate in the second.

Omar Infante led off with an infield single and Jackson walked with two outs. Hunter hit a ground-rule double that bounced over the 408 sign in straightaway center field to put the Tigers up 2-1.

Cabrera crushed the next pitch, a 91 mph fastball that he sent soaring just inside the left-field foul pole for his 41st home run.

"I was thinking about how I wanted to pitch him from before the game, but it was hard to figure it out until you face him," Matsuzaka said through a translator. "I don't think it was a bad pitch, but he hit a home run off it."

Chasing his second consecutive AL Triple Crown, Cabrera has comfortable leads in batting average and RBI. He moved within five home runs of Baltimore slugger Chris Davis.

"It's just unbelievable," Fister said, then changed his tune. "It's no longer unbelievable. It's definitely believable, and he's doing it for a long time in a row now."

Working with rookie Travis d'Arnaud, catching his fifth major-league game, Matsuzaka settled in from there and did not allow another baserunner. He retired his final 10 batters and was charged with five runs on six hits over five innings.

"I thought the last three innings he was very, very good," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "The arm issues have caused his velocity to go down a little bit. But I tell you what, his breaking stuff is still very good. I was happy with the way he finished up."

Jackson added a solo shot in the seventh off reliever Carlos Torres, originally scheduled to start the game before the Mets signed Matsuzaka (0-1) for the remainder of this season.

The Red Sox shelled out more than $100 million to import Matsuzaka in 2007. He won 33 games and a World Series ring during his first two years in the majors, but injuries and poor performances followed. He had Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow in 2011.

Matsuzaka went 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA in 11 starts for Boston last season and was beaten out by Scott Kazmir for the final spot in Cleveland's rotation this spring. The 32-year-old pitcher agreed to go to Triple-A Columbus, where he was 5-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 19 starts.

After working through early season injuries, Matsuzaka had been effective in recent weeks. He was granted his release by the Indians on Tuesday, and the third-place Mets decided he was their best option to fill a void the rest of the way.

"I just kind of studied his old video and went off that," Hunter said.

Fister gave up only an RBI single to Marlon Byrd in the first. The big right-hander induced two double plays and allowed eight hits in 6 1-3 innings before three relievers finished up.

Notes

Martinez, normally a DH, made his first start at catcher for Detroit since Aug. 4, 2011. "It felt great all-around," he said. ... The Tigers said C Alex Avila left his rehab game Thursday with Triple-A Toledo after three innings due to dizziness. Avila is on the disabled list with concussion symptoms. ... Fister was 0-1 in his previous three starts after winning four in a row. ... Collins said he wears No. 10 in grateful tribute to Leyland and credited the Detroit skipper with being a mentor. Leyland gave Collins his first big-league coaching job in 1992 with Pittsburgh.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Welcome back to the majors, Dice-K. The high-powered Tigers tag Matsuzaka for five runs in his Mets debut.  (USATSI)
Welcome back to the majors, Dice-K. The high-powered Tigers tag Matsuzaka for five runs in his Mets debut. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Detroit

M. Cabrera
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
New York

E. Young
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 

Related Video

November 27, 2014
Matthew Stafford on big win over the Bears (0:46)
November 27, 2014
Glover Quin makes and incredible interception
(0:30)
November 24, 2014
NFL Monday QB: Detroit struggling
(1:42)
November 24, 2014
Bears at Lions preview
(1:53)
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Austin Jackson, CF4211111 .269
Torii Hunter, RF5222001 .306
Miguel Cabrera, 3B4123010 .356
Prince Fielder, 1B4010010 .261
Victor Martinez, C3000102 .283
Don Kelly, LF4000003 .235
Omar Infante, 2B4120011 .315
Jose Iglesias, SS3000012 .319
Doug Fister, P2000010 .400
   a-Andy Dirks, PH1000011 .245
Totals3468627  
a-struck out for Veras in the 9th
Batting
2B - Torii Hunter (30, Matsuzaka)
HR - Austin Jackson (11, Torres), Torii Hunter (14, Matsuzaka), Miguel Cabrera (41, Matsuzaka)
SH - Doug Fister (2)
RBI - Austin Jackson (33), Torii Hunter 2 (66), Miguel Cabrera 3 (126)
2-OUT RBI - Torii Hunter (19), Miguel Cabrera 3 (54)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Iglesias-Infante-Fielder, Iglesias-Infante-Fielder-Cabrera-Infante-Fielder
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Doug Fister (W,11-6) 6.1811240 3.54
Drew Smyly 0.2000010 1.99
Jose Veras 1100120 2.80
Bruce Rondon 1100010 3.65
Pitches-Strikes - Doug Fister 112-68, Drew Smyly 6-4, Jose Veras 21-11, Bruce Rondon 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Doug Fister 9-4, Bruce Rondon 1-1
Batters Faced - Doug Fister 27, Drew Smyly 2, Jose Veras 5, Bruce Rondon 4
New York (N.L.) Mets
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Eric Young Jr., LF5030012 .251
Daniel Murphy, 2B5100005 .274
Marlon Byrd, RF4021020 .288
Ike Davis, 1B4000022 .203
Wilmer Flores, 3B4030001 .300
Juan Lagares, CF2010201 .258
Travis d'Arnaud, C4000005 .067
Omar Quintanilla, SS4010010 .225
Daisuke Matsuzaka, P1000010 .000
   a-Mike Baxter, PH1000000 .208
   c-Josh Satin, PH1000010 .301
Totals35110138  
a-grounded out for Matsuzaka in the 5th
b-walked for Torres in the 7th
c-struck out for Aardsma in the 9th
Batting
2B - Eric Young Jr. (20, Rondon), Marlon Byrd (25, Fister)
RBI - Marlon Byrd (71)
SB - Eric Young Jr. (29, 2nd base off Fister/Martinez)
Team LOB - 10
New York (N.L.) Mets
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Daisuke Matsuzaka (L,0-1) 5655142 9.00
Carlos Torres 2211001 3.06
Pedro Feliciano 0.2000110 3.86
David Aardsma 1.1000020 4.30
HBP - Iglesias (by David Aardsma)
Pitches-Strikes - Daisuke Matsuzaka 86-58, Carlos Torres 37-24, Pedro Feliciano 14-7, David Aardsma 17-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daisuke Matsuzaka 3-8, Carlos Torres 2-4, Pedro Feliciano 1-0
Batters Faced - Daisuke Matsuzaka 22, Carlos Torres 8, Pedro Feliciano 3, David Aardsma 5
Game Information
Attendance - 37023
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Jim Joyce, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Ed Hickox