DUANE BURLESON / AP Enlarge
DETROIT - Jorge Sosa didn't know - or care - that the Detroit Tigers had not been shut out this year.
"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 last 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."
David Wright and Carlos Delgado made a winner of Sosa (6-1) for the sixth time in seven starts, each hitting their 10th homers of the year.
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.
Sosa, who was a combined 3-11 last season with the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals, scattered four hits over eight innings in his longest outing of the year. He struck out five and walked two.
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.
NOTES: Yesterday 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. ... Mets OF Ricky Ledee started against Detroit in left field after his contract was purchased from Triple-A New Orleans.
Until Joel Zumaya actually returns to the mound, Detroit manager Jim Leyland isn't counting on seeing the hard-throwing reliever for a long time.
"The reports are that Joel Zumaya will be back in August," Leyland said yesterday. "However I'm not in any way, shape or form counting on that, and it would not surprise me if he was not ready to pitch before the season is over."
Zumaya had surgery in mid-May to repair a ruptured tendon in his right middle finger. At the time, he was expected to miss three months.
Zumaya was 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 13 appearances this season. He was 6-3 in 62 appearances during his rookie season last year and ranked third among AL relievers with 97 strikeouts.
Leyland said there have been no setbacks and he has heard nothing from the team's medical staff.
Reliever Fernando Rodney came off the disabled list Tuesday against Texas after being out with biceps tendinitis.42.33168 -83.04792