LAKELAND, Fla. – Jonathon Niese took another step toward earning an opening day start if Johan Santana is not ready, allowing one hit in 4 2-3 innings and leading the New York Mets to an 11-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
Tigers ace Justin Verlander had his first rocky outing of spring training, allowing five runs and two homers in 4 1-3 innings. He walked two, hit two batters, and balked home a run.
Niese, whose 13 wins last season is best among the Mets' returning starters, walked four with no strikeouts on a day that the wind was blowing out in Tigertown. He hasn't allowed a run against a major league team this spring.
Jordany Valdespin homered in the first inning, and Brian Bixler and Brandon Hicks also connected for the Mets. Valdespin later was hit by a pitch from Verlander and left the game.