NEW YORK – On a humbling weekend at home, the New York Mets were reminded of the large disparity that exists between a team trying to build a championship roster and a club that already has one.
Miguel Cabrera hit a mammoth homer, Rick Porcello enjoyed a happy homecoming and the Detroit Tigers polished off a three-game sweep at Citi Field with an 11-3 victory Sunday.
"You can't get them out the same way twice. You just have to keep trying to mix and match and keep them guessing," Mets starter Dillon Gee said. "They're playing well and swinging the bats well. Definitely tough one through nine."
Gee (9-9) gave up a go-ahead homer to Andy Dirks and lost for only the third time in 16 starts. The right-hander entered with a 2.27 ERA since May 30, the fourth-best mark in the majors during that span.
Travis d'Arnaud hit his first major league homer for the Mets, who have scored five runs during a four-game slide. Minus injured David Wright, they were outscored 20-4 in the series and outhit 33-7 in the final two games.
"The Tigers aren't in the position they're in without having an outstanding offense. They pitched us tough. We didn't get a lot of guys on," New York manager Terry Collins said. "Right now we are not swinging the bats very well."
Gee lasted six innings for the 11th straight start, the longest streak of his career, and 15th time in 16 outings. But he matched a season high by giving up 10 hits — five in the sixth.
Austin Jackson opened the game with a soft single and Cabrera launched a 2-0 pitch toward left field, where it cleared a railing in the second deck and sailed through a triangular opening beneath the restaurant windows.
The drive induced a collective gasp from the crowd of 32,084 on Tom Seaver bobblehead day and gave Cabrera 42 home runs to go with a major league-high 128 RBIs. Trying to become the first player to win consecutive Triple Crowns, he is four homers behind Baltimore slugger Chris Davis.
"I just made a big mistake and you can't do that to him, so he made me pay for it," Gee said. "I didn't have much command today, really. I just knew it was going to be a battle early on."
A broken-bat single by Daniel Murphy cut it to 2-1 in the third, and d'Arnaud put the Mets ahead one inning later with a two-run shot that cleared the shortened fence in left-center.
"I just put my head down and started running, and the fans let me know it was gone," he said.
A top prospect, d'Arnaud was acquired from Toronto in a trade for Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey last offseason. Before connecting, he was 1 for 16 in the big leagues since getting called up Aug. 16.
Considered the Mets' catcher of the future, d'Arnaud popped out of the dugout to take a curtain call for fans hoping to see much more of the same down the road.
"I didn't see it coming," d'Arnaud said. "I didn't know what was going on. It was an unbelievable experience, though."
Porcello (10-7) pitched seven innings of four-hit ball before the Tigers broke it open with a seven-run ninth against LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison.
The 24-year-old Porcello, who grew up a Mets fan nearby in New Jersey, left 17 tickets for family and friends. He didn't disappoint them, either, bouncing back from a loss to Minnesota and moving to 6-1 in his past nine outings.
"It was definitely a little special feeling," Porcello said. "I'm glad we got a win for them."
The right-hander was hit hard in his only other start against the Mets on June 28, 2011, in Detroit. He pitched at Yankee Stadium a little more than two weeks ago, taking a no-decision in Detroit's 4-3 defeat.
With the victory by Porcello, all five members of the Tigers' rotation have reached double digits in wins. New York does not have a single pitcher with more than nine.
Cabrera's homer was his 10th in 19 games. He went 3 for 4 with a walk, raising his batting average to a major league-best .360, and finished the series 7 for 13 with two homers and five RBIs.
Hobbled by nagging injuries to his hip, side and knees, Cabrera jogged slowly down the line all weekend. When he tried to dive for a ball at third base Sunday, it certainly appeared to hurt.
That hardly slowed him at the plate, though.
"The Tigers played great and we didn't," Collins said.
Dirks put Detroit ahead with a two-run homer, and the AL Central leaders improved to 12-5 in interleague play. They have won 34 of 49 overall, the best mark in the American League since July 2.
The Tigers were trailing by one when Martinez singled off Gee to start the sixth. Dirks, who had three of Detroit's 13 hits Saturday off All-Star ace Matt Harvey, drove an 0-1 slider to right-center for his eighth home run.
"This sounds crazy, but I think the matchup yesterday really got the hitters pumped up," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
NOTES: The last time the Mets allowed at least 15 hits to the same team in consecutive nine-inning home games was in September 1986 against Montreal. ... The 41 hits by Detroit were the most the Mets have ever given up in a three-game home series that did not include an extra-inning game. ... Collins rested 3B Wilmer Flores (ankle) partly because he plans to play the rookie at 2B one day this week. Justin Turner started at third and grounded into two double plays. ... Rookie RHP Zack Wheeler (6-2, 3.49 ERA) faces All-Star lefty Cliff Lee (10-6, 3.16) on Monday night in the opener of a four-game series against Philadelphia.