Mets 3, Tigers 2
NEW YORK (AP)—In the midst of a slump that sent his batting average plummeting below .200, Mike Cameron tried to remain positive.
Hit the ball squarely, he reasoned. Maybe it will find a hole.
Finally, the philosophy seems to be working.
The homer and a bunt single earlier that helped set up a two-run rally gave Cameron a six-game hitting streak during which he’s batted .364 and raised his season average to .210.
“It was great to put a good swing on the baseball. I got a split up in the zone and I put a good swing on it,” Cameron said.
On a night in which a convention of Hall of Fame catchers showed up to honor Mike Piazza, it was Cameron who had the big hit for the Mets.
“He crushed it,” Detroit manager Alan Trammell said.
In a pregame ceremony, Piazza was honored for breaking Carlton Fisk’s record for home runs as a catcher on May 5. Hall of Famers Fisk, Johnny Bench, Gary Carter and Yogi Berra were in attendance.
Piazza caught for the first time since May 23 on Thursday and was behind the plate again for Friday night’s game.
“It was a good night to get a big win with all those great players in the house to honor Mike,” Cameron said. “Walk off! That’s the end of the game!”
Cameron’s ninth home run—and second in as many nights—came on a 2-2 pitch from reliever Danny Patterson (0-4) and sent the Mets to their second win in a row and fourth in five games.
“It was a great finish,” manager Art Howe said. “You want a perfect ending to a great evening. That’s every hitter’s dream.”
In the top of the ninth, Detroit had runners at first and third with one out, but Braden Looper (1-1) pitched out of the jam.
“We had our chances,” Trammell said. “First and third, one out, top of the order. We didn’t get them in. It’s where we’re at as a team. You figure we’ve got something pretty good going, a shot to win. We played pretty good ball.”
The Tigers took advantage of a blown double-play opportunity by the Mets in the first to score the game’s first run.
Brandon Inge and Ivan Rodriguez were on base with one-out singles, when Dmitri Young grounded to shortstop Kaz Matsui. It seemed a tailor-made double play, but second baseman Ty Wigginton lost control of the ball as he tried to relay to first, leaving runners at first and third with two outs.
Rondell White followed with a double against Glavine to score Inge, but the Mets threw out Young trying to score on a nice relay from Cameron to Matsui to Piazza.
Young made it 2-0 in the fourth with a leadoff homer to left. It was just the 51st homer against Mets pitchers, the second-lowest total in the majors, and the second of the season for Young, who missed the first two months of the season after breaking his right leg April 6.
Tigers starter Nate Robertson retired 11 straight after Piazza’s single in the first before Wigginton singled with one out in the fifth. Cameron then beat out a bunt single. The runners advanced on an infield out, and Glavine punched a first-pitch single to left, scoring two runs to tie it at 2-2.
“I got a little bit lucky,” Glavine said. “It bounced off the dirt in front of the plate and went over the third baseman’s head.”
Glavine pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth.
Glavine worked seven innings, allowing seven hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
Robertson was forced to leave in the eighth when Matsui’s shot up the middle glanced off his right leg. He recovered in time to throw Matsui out but was relieved by Al Levine, who allowed singles to Todd Zeile and Piazza. But Walker came out of the bullpen and struck out Floyd on three pitches, ending the inning.
In the ninth, a leadoff single by Infante and an error by Wigginton gave the Tigers runners at first and third with one out. But Piazza grabbed Alex Sanchez’s bunt and retired him at the plate before pinch-hitter Carlos Guillenflied to center, ending the inning.
Signed photos of the four Hall of Fame catchers honoring Mike Piazza are available from a new memorabilia Web site, HeroesofthePast.com. … 3B Inge made a diving stop to rob Wigginton of a potential double leading off theseventh.