“I didn’t think about, I just tried to do my pitches,” the 30-year-old journeyman from the Dominican Republic said through an interpreter, after holding the Tigers at bay over eight innings in the New York Mets’ 3-0 win Friday night.
Sosa said he is no stranger to American League hitters, after spending parts of three seasons with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
“The reason I was throwing more breaking balls because I played in the American League before and I know what the type of hitters they are,” Sosa said. “So I was trying to get ahead with my breaking ball to get to my fastball.”
Wright went deep to right field off Tigers starter Chad Durbin in the fourth inning to make it 1-0. Delgado put New York ahead 2-0 with his homer in the seventh.
It was the 15th consecutive game Mets starters have allowed three runs or less.
“Sosa has been outstanding,” manager Willie Randolph said. “He was aggressive tonight, he pounded the zone, he has been a great addition for us. He’s had a nice year.”
The Mets added an insurance run in the ninth, after Carlos Gomez reached on a bunt and Carlos Beltran lined a base hit to center. Tim Byrdak replaced Durbin and gave up a sacrifice fly to Delgado to make it 3-0.
Billy Wagner pitched a perfect ninth for his 14th save in 15 chances.
“This was a big game for us to win,” Wagner said.
Durbin (5-2) gave up three runs on six hits in eight-plus innings. He struck out four and walked one in his longest outing since April 25.
“I made a couple mistakes to a good-hitting ballclub,” Durbin said. “Sometimes those pitches get popped up, and sometimes they get hit.”
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Durbin was terrific—but Sosa was just a little bit better.
“We hit a couple balls hard in the first inning, but we didn’t get anything out of it, and he shut us down the rest of the way,” Leyland said.
Detroit threatened in the sixth when Magglio Ordonez, who had grounded out and popped out in previous at-bats, singled to right field. Gomez misplayed the ball, allowing Ordonez to reach second, but Carlos Guillen was called out on strikes to end the inning.
Detroit had other chances, too.
Guillen walked and reached second on a stolen base in the fourth, but Sean Casey grounded out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first, Curtis Granderson singled and moved on second on a groundout by Placido Polanco. Granderson was left stranded when Mets shortstop Jose Reyes stretched out to snag a hard hit grounder and throw Ordonez out at first.
“I definitely thought we would get something going in the first, but we kept hitting bullets and they kept making plays. I couldn’t believe it,” Granderson said.
Polanco hit a two-out double in the eighth, but Sosa, after a chat at the mound with the infield, got Gary Sheffield to ground out.
Friday was the first time the Mets have played at Comerica Park. The last time New York was in Detroit was in 1997, the first year of interleague play. … Leyland said before the game that he thinks RP Joel Zumaya (finger) and C Vance Wilson (elbow) could miss the rest of the season. … Mets OF Ricky Ledee started against Detroit in left field after his contract was purchased from Triple-A New Orleans. … On the second day of the draft, Tigers took Al Kaline’s grandson, third base coach Gene Lamont’s son and the younger brothers of current Tigers pitchers Zumaya and Nate Robertson. “I haven’t talked to him, but I got a couple text messages from him during the game,” Robertson said of his brother, Matthew. “This is just awesome.”