Spencer Turnbull gave the Tigers’ bullpen a much needed breather, neutralized the New York Mets much of the afternoon, and generally pitched a fine game.
But one inning was forgettable. One pitch, actually. And it was that fourth inning that led to the Mets' 4-3 victory Sunday.
The Mets scored four runs in the fourth, the big hit a three-run home run by Adeiny Hechavarria, making it 4-3.
Turnbull went seven innings, which was desperately needed after the bullpen was taxed in a 13-inning loss the day before.
Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler had trouble against Nick Castellanos, but stymied nearly everyone else in the Tigers’ lineup.
Wheeler went 7.1 innings, allowing five hits and three earned runs, walking one and striking out eight Tigers hitters.
Castellanos drove in all three runs with a pair of hits, but the Tigers didn’t get enough offense from the rest of the order (two JaCoby Jones singles, one from Niko Goodrum and Brandon Dixon).
The Tigers made Mets closer Edwin Diaz sweat in the ninth inning (season-high 33 pitches) getting two runners on (Christin Stewart walk, Dixon single). But Diaz struck out John Hicks and Jones to end the game.
The Tigers (19-31) have lost 11 of their last 12 games. The Mets climbed to the .500 mark (26-26).
Other observations on Sunday’s game:
► Detroit’s scoring: For the third consecutive game, the Tigers jumped out quickly. Castellanos hit his fifth home run with two out in the first, 371 feet to right.
In the third inning, Jones singled and was forced by Turnbull. Turnbull moved to second base on Goodrum’s single. After Dawel Lugo grounded out, Castellanos drove both home with a double.
► New York’s scoring: All the damage was done in the fourth inning.
Dominic Smith opened the rally with a double. With one out Wilson Ramos singled, moving Smith to third. The Tigers put a shift on to neutralize Todd Frazier, but Frazier beat it with a bunt single to the vacant right side, scoring Smith. After Carlos Gomez struck out, Hechavarria hit his third home run – second of the series – giving the Mets a 4-3 lead. Hechavarria has six hits for the season, three in this series.
► Castellanos, Goodrum streaking: With two hits Sunday – he had five in the series – Castellanos extended his hit streak to seven games, same as Goodrum.
► Wheeler stars: Wheeler was absolutely stellar for the Mets, going 7.1 innings and throwing 75 of his 102 pitches for strikes. Wheeler retired 13 consecutive Tigers hitters until Jones singled to lead off the eighth. But Wheeler struck out pinch-hitter Miguel Cabrera on three pitches, then walked Goodrum, exiting the game at that point.
Reliever Jeurys Familia came on and struck out Lugo and Castellanos to end the threat.
Just for good measure, Wheeler helped himself offensively with two singles up the middle.
► Turnbull just as good: Turnbull went 7.0 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs, and threw 99 pitches (68 for strikes). Just like Wheeler, Turnbull walked one and struck out eight. Other than the fourth inning, the only other threat the Mets put together against Turnbull was in the sixth, putting two on, but Turnbull struck out Hechavarria to end the inning.
► Spotless inning: The Tigers’ bullpen did its job in the eighth, as Daniel Stumpf and Zac Reininger retired three consecutive Mets after Smith opened the inning with a single.
► Jumping JaCoby: Jones has three consecutive two-hit games and has hit safely in eight of his last 12 games.
► Rodriguez struggling: After a roaring start, Ronny Rodriguez is struggling. He went hitless in 10 at-bats for the weekend, including another 0-for-4 Sunday. Rodriguez saw his batting average drop to .239.
► Interleague woes: The loss dropped the Tigers to 2-8 in interleague play. They have another three-game series in Atlanta beginning Friday.
On deck: Orioles
Series: Three games, Monday-Wednesday, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore
First pitch: 1:05 Monday, 7:05 Tuesday and Wednesday
TV/radio: All three games on FSD/97.1 FM
Probables: Monday — LHP Daniel Norris (2-2, 4.30) vs. RHP Gabriel Ynoa (0-1, 5.60); Tuesday — LHP Matthew Boyd (4-4, 3.11) vs. RHP Dylan Bundy (2-5, 4.67); Wenesday — TBA vs. LHP John Means (5-4, 2.96).
Norris, Tigers: Norris recorded his second quality start of the season Wednesday, allowing two runs on six hits in six innings against Miami. Norris has faced Baltimore four times in his career, twice as a starter, all at Camden Yards, with a 1-1 record and 3.86 ERA (11.2 innings/five earned runs).
Ynoa, Orioles: Ynoa is getting his first start of the season, having pitched in relief in the other nine appearances. In 17.1 innings, Ynoa has struck out 18, but also allowed 22 hits and 11 earned runs.