LAKELAND, Fla. — A combination the Tigers hope to see all season: Miguel Cabrera gets on base; Prince Fielder drives him in.
The Mets walked Cabrera twice. Fielder drove him in twice, and the Tigers beat New York 7-6 in 10 innings Wednesday.
Fielder followed the first walk with a two-run homer and the second walk with a single in a four-run fifth inning.
“He hit behind (Ryan) Braun over in Milwaukee so he’ll hit behind Cabrera,” manager Jim Leyland said of Fielder. “We’ve got petty good protection behind him in Delmon Young; he knocked in 100 runs the year before last (112 in 2010).”
Fielder went 3 for 3 Wednesday and Young had two hits, including a two-run single after Fielder’s final hit.
Young sees the logic in the 3-4 set up.
“You can move Miggy (Cabrera) into the 3-hole and he has more at-bats per game and you can’t pitch around him,” Young said. “Victor (Martinez) did a great job hitting behind Miggy, but now you walk Miggy and you have a guy who has hit 50 home runs in his career coming up behind him.”
Fielder’s second spring homer came off Mets starter Dillon Gee in the fourth. Gee struck out five in four innings, and his walk to Cabrera was the only one he gave up on a day in which 19 walks were issued.
Detroit starter Max Scherzer did not get through the Mets’ four-run third inning. After giving up a hit and two walks and then hitting Zach Lutz with a pitch, Scherzer had reached his 65 pitch limit and was replaced by Casey Crosby.
Quintin Berry drove in the winning run after Mets pitcher Jack Egbert walked two of the first three hitters he faced in the 10th inning.
Tiger left-hander Daniel Schlereth, who walked one of the seven Mets he faced in two hitless innings, earned the win. A lefty specialist, Schlereth worked two hitless innings, and was excited for a chance to see batters from both sides of the plate.
“For my role, (Leyland) likes to use me against left-handers, so the more often I face right-handed hitters, the more comfortable he’s going to be during the season,” Schlereth said. “When there’s a left-right-left combination coming up, hopefully he’ll show confidence in me and leave me out there for that right-handed hitter. I think today was a step in the right direction.”
Jordany Valdespin had two of the Mets’ eight hits and stole a base.
NOTES: Mets third baseman David Wright, who has yet to play in an exhibition game after tearing a muscle in his rib cage, will resume baseball workouts Thursday in Port St. Lucie. ... Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch was scratched from the lineup due to discomfort in his side. Leyland said Boesch will probably play Thursday. ... Rookie right-hander Jacob Turner, a candidate for the Tigers’ starting rotation, has been set back by a mild case of shoulder tendinitis. ... AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander will face the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday in his third start of the spring.
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