DETROIT (AP) - The good news for Tigers fans is that Don Kelly is available to pitch again on Thursday.
The better news? So is Justin Verlander.
Kelly, Detroit's utilityman, was the only one of five Detroit pitchers that didn't allow a run in a 16-9 loss to the New York Mets on Wednesday night. In his first career appearance on the mound, he got Scott Hairston to fly out to center field to end the ninth inning.
``I was just out there trying to get the ball over the plate,' said Kelly, who became the first Tigers position player to pitch in 11 years. ``When he hit the ball, and I saw Austin (Jackson) camped under it, I knew I was going to be OK.'
Tigers manager Jim Leyland has often said that he hates seeing position players pitch, but didn't think he had any other choices when David Purcey allowed two runs in the ninth. The Tigers have given up 30 runs in two games against the Mets.
``Hopefully, at the end of the season, we'll have won and we can look at this and remember it as just one part of a successful season,' Leyland said. ``I told Donnie in the eighth to warm up in the cage, just in case we needed him.'
Even with Kelly's help, the Tigers had to make a roster move after the game, calling up Brayan Villarreal to get another arm in the bullpen for Thursday's matinee.
They are hoping that Verlander will make it a moot point.
``It's always good news when Justin is going to be on the mound,' Leyland said.
Wednesday's starter, though, doesn't have the same level of Leyland's confidence. Phil Coke (1-8) allowed eight runs in four-plus innings, and has given up 18 runs in 13 2-3 innings in his last three starts.
``I mostly did what I wanted to do - they just hit everything I threw over that white thing,' Coke said. ``I'm sick to my stomach right now.'
Leyland wasn't about to give Coke a vote of confidence.
``We're tossing some things around right now,' he said of the fifth spot in his rotation. ``We're not ready to make a decision right now.'
The Tigers haven't been the only team struggling to stop the Mets. New York set a team record by scoring 52 runs in a four-game span, STATS LLC said. They have 69 hits during their spree.
Miguel Cabrera hit two of Detroit's five homers. The Mets romped despite not hitting any home runs.
Winner Chris Capuano (7-7) went five-plus innings, giving up five runs and six hits.
A night after New York hit two grand slams, Hairston cleared the bases a different way in the first inning with a flyball to right-center that fell in to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.
The Mets scored 50 runs in four games from June 12-15, 1990, according to STATS. It was the first time since 2007 a team won despite being outhomered by at least five, according to STATS - Tampa Bay beat the Orioles 15-8 on Aug. 28 of that year, despite hitting only one home run to Baltimore's six.
The Tigers fell into a virtual tie for first place in the AL Central with Cleveland.
Jose Reyes led off the first with a single and took second when Cabrera mishandled a pickoff throw for an error. Reyes stole third - his 30th steal of the season - and scored on a wild pitch by Coke that bounced over the screen behind the plate.
New York loaded the bases later in the inning, and Hairston drove in three more runs with his triple.
Angel Pagan made it 5-0 with an RBI single in the third, his second straight hit to start the game after reaching base in all five plate appearances Tuesday night.
Pagan's streak of reaching base ended at seven. Reyes hit into a double play in the fourth after a second-inning single extended his streak of reaching base to eight plate appearances.
The Tigers narrowed the gap to 8-6 and 10-8, but the Mets answered with four insurance runs, all with two out in the eighth. Pagan hit an RBI double, Daniel Murphy singled home two more runs, and Ruben Tejada added an RBI single.
Pagan's two-run double in the ninth made it 16-9.
NOTESS: Shane Halter was the previous Tigers position player to pitch, doing so while playing all nine positions on Oct. 1, 2000. ... Kelly topped out at 86 mph, a pitch he confirmed was his best four-seam fastball. ... Mets reliever Bobby Parnell had a pitch clocked at 103 mph on the stadium scoreboard in the seventh. ... The Tigers recalled LHP Brad Thomas (left elbow inflammation) from his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Toledo, but he remains on the disabled list.
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