LAKELAND, Fla. — Max Scherzer did enough to earn an early exit.
Scherzer struck out six in 2 2-3 hitless innings Friday, and the Tigers defeated the New York Mets 3-2.
Scherzer walked three in his second spring start. He was pulled after retiring the first two batters in the third inning, with manager Jim Leyland keeping an eye on the pitch count.
"We got him up around 50, but there was no sense pushing anything," Leyland said. "We're watching those guys pretty close. He threw fine. He was just missing when he missed. ... He's not razor-sharp by any means, but he threw the ball pretty well."
Mets starter Dillon Gee allowed one hit in four innings. He gave up one run.
Gee said he was pleased with his overall progress, save his three walks. The right-hander missed the second half of last season after a blood clot was discovered in his throwing shoulder.
"Obviously, I never want to walk that many guys, but I feel like I'm really close. I felt pretty good today. I can just tell I'm real close to clicking," he said.
Tigers minor leaguer Tyler Collins hit a solo home run to break a tie in the eighth. The 22-year-old outfielder, who hasn't played above Class A, leads the team with 10 hits this spring.
Jordany Valdespin, who hit eight home runs in 191 at-bats as a rookie last year, gave the Mets a 2-1 lead in the seventh with a solo home run off the scoreboard in right.
Valdespin is tied for the team lead in home runs (2) and is second with 14 total bases.
Leyland was pleased with reliever Bruce Rondon's outing, his first without a walk in five appearances this spring.
Rondon, a candidate for the Tigers' closer job, hit 100 mph on his fastball and gave up two hits. He also struck out two in a scoreless eighth, earning the win.
"Home crowd, he probably wanted to get that triple digit on the scoreboard," Leyland said. "The people behind me oohed and aahed when he hit 100. He did fine."
NOTES: Detroit's first run came on an RBI double by Matt Tuiasosopo, who hasn't been in the majors since Seattle in 2010 and entered the game hitting .063 (1 for 16) in spring. He added a single in the fifth. ... The Mets scored in the fourth on a bloop single by third baseman Zach Lutz, filling in while David Wright participates in the World Baseball Classic. ... Tigers reliever Luke Putkonen had his own control issues, hitting three batters in 2 1-3 innings. Mets C Travis d'Arnaud took one to his right elbow, which he had iced after the game. He said he would be fine. ... Tigers SS Ramon Santiago, limited by a calf injury for the last month, made his spring debut. He started and batted leadoff, popping out in the first and drawing a walk in the third.
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