Anibal's gem vs. Mets backed by homers

Anibal's gem vs. Mets backed by homers

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Anibal Sanchez outdueled Matt Harvey in the battle of returning starters, tossing four scoreless innings with five strikeouts in a 5-1 win over the Mets on Monday at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Sanchez, battling for a roster spot in the final guaranteed season of his contract after a disappointing 2016 season, posted his second consecutive effective outing as he transitions to a finesse approach. He retired nine in a row from Michael Conforto's first-inning single to Wilmer Flores' two-out single in the fourth. He struck out four of his first eight batters before finishing his outing with a 92-mph fastball on the corner to catch Dominic Smith looking.

Sanchez's scoreless outing

"I feel good," Sanchez said. "Today was another good outing, but I still need to work with [pitching coach Rich] Dubee. But thank God everything is coming back and I'm in the right way right now."

Harvey, working his way back from surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in his right arm, kept pace with Sanchez for four innings. He recovered from a James McCann second-inning solo homer to retire eight of his next nine batters before Brendan Ryan's two-run single chased him with one out in the fifth. The former All-Star yielded three runs on seven hits, walked none and struck out four.

McCann's solo homer

"It felt really good to get through four innings and go through the lineup like I did," Harvey said. "It was pretty exciting for me to throw the ball like I anticipated after my last start."

McCann's home run was his first of the spring. Nicholas Castellanos added a seventh-inning solo shot, his second Spring Training homer, off Paul Sewald.

Challenge laid out for Castellanos to bat 2nd

Castellanos' solo homer

Mets Up Next: The Mets will enjoy an off-day on Tuesday, but Wednesday afternoon, left-hander Steven Matz and right-hander Zack Wheeler are expected to pitch in a Grapefruit League game against the Marlins at 1:05 p.m. ET in Port St. Lucie (live on MLB.TV).

Tigers Up Next: After the final off-day of camp on Tuesday, the Tigers get back to work Wednesday behind Daniel Norris, who returns to his old stomping grounds in Dunedin for a 1:05 p.m. ET start against the Blue Jays.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Corey Long is a contributor to and covered the Mets on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.