Andy Oliver held the Mets to one hit over four innings following New York's six-run fifth inning rally as the Tigers and Mets played to a 7-7 exhibition tie after 10 innings at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla.
Oliver, who made a pair of starts for Detroit last year, enters the season as the organization's No. 2-ranked lefty prospect behind Drew Smyly. He spent most of last season at Triple-A Toledo and is in the mix for the fifth spot in the Tigers rotation this spring.
The Tigers' second-round pick in 2009 relieved Collin Balester to start the seventh and retired the first eight batters he faced. Mike Baxter's two-out single in the ninth was Oliver's lone mistake -- he retired Wilmer Flores and worked a 1-2-3 10th.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he's encouraged Oliver to work on throwing early strikes this spring.
"Every time he throws on the side, he's got to give himself a simulated hitter and work on getting strike one with his fastball," Leyland told MLB.com last week. "I want to see a little bit more command of the fastball, and I think that will come. I kind of gave him a mission, really."
Oliver said last week he's determined to improve on letting his pitches do the work.
"I need to continue to work on not trying to add so much and just throw it at a good rhythm and tempo and let it do its job," he told MLB.com.
Leyland had originally planned to let Oliver start Monday's game, with top Tigers prospect Jacob Turner getting work out of the bullpen.
Smyly ended up getting the start, allowing a run on two hits and a walk over two frames. Lucas Duda's grand slam highlighted the Mets' six-run fifth off Turner, who was charged with six runs -- five earned -- on four hits and a pair of walks over 1 2/3 innings after working a pair of scoreless outings on March 3 and 7. He left due to pitch count.
"He's improved," Leyland said last week of Oliver. "He's throwing the ball well."