Solid four innings for Dickey in Mets' loss
Knuckleballer allows two runs on four hits; Thole scores lone run
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Andy Dirks just keeps on hitting.
Trying to play his way onto Detroit's Opening Day roster, Dirks tripled once and scored twice Monday, leading Brad Penny and the Tigers to a 2-1 victory over the Mets at Digital Domain Park.
Facing knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, Dirks led off the fourth inning with a triple, later scoring on the first of Victor Martinez's two RBI groundouts. Dirks also beat out a potential double-play ball in the first inning, leading to Martinez's other RBI. Dirks is now 10-for-22 with five extra-base hits this spring.
Dickey allowed just those two runs in four innings, striking out one and walking none. His counterpart, Brad Penny, struck out four over 3 1/3 shutout innings. The Mets plated their only run on Fu-Te Ni's wild pitch in the fifth.
"At this point, knock on wood, I feel like I'm in a pretty good place," Dickey said. "I'm throwing a lot of strikes. It feels good out of my hand. They're hitting pieces of it. I just need to be consistent with it."
Only three Tigers regulars -- Martinez, Joel Peralta and Brandon Inge -- made the 2 1/2-hour trip from Lakeland, Fla.
Up next for Mets: Oliver Perez will make what could be his final start in a Mets uniform when he starts for a traveling split squad against the Astros in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Kissimmee, Fla. The Mets have guaranteed Perez nothing beyond Tuesday's start -- there's a chance he could wind up in the bullpen, and an even greater chance the team will cut him completely. Back home, Chris Capuano will start against the Nationals in a 1:10 p.m. game at Digital Domain Park, while Jason Isringhausen will attempt to pitch in back-to-back games for the first time this spring.
Up next for Tigers: The Tigers return to Lakeland for the first of back-to-back home games, and they could return Magglio Ordonez and Brennan Boesch to the lineup when they host the Marlins in a 1:05 p.m. game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Miguel Cabrera will get a chance to face his former team. Max Scherzer, Charlie Furbush, Robbie Weinhardt, Joaquin Benoit and Ryan Perry are among the Tigers slated to pitch opposite Alex Sanabia and former Detroit prospect Burke Badenhop, the lone Marlin left from the Cabrera trade 3 1/2 years ago.