PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A brilliant sun blazed above Florida's Treasure Coast on Friday afternoon, lifting temperatures into the high 70s and illuminating a sold-out Tradition Field crowd for the Mets' 5-4 win over the Tigers. Everyone stood and cheered when the Mets introduced Jaden Ramos, the son of a slain NYPD officer. Everyone yelped some more when Matt Harvey jogged to the mound for the first time in 18 months.
This was supposed to be a simple Grapefruit League matchup between the Mets and Tigers, but it may as well have been a carnival. And it lived up to its billing. Harvey hit 99 mph on the radar gun and fired two perfect innings in his return from Tommy John surgery, while Tigers starter David Price contributed two hitless innings of his own.
"It was fun -- a lot of fun," Mets third baseman David Wright said. "For the first Spring Training game, that type of intensity, I think it speaks for the confidence that the fans have in us this year. It was a good atmosphere, especially for Spring Training. It was just fun to take the field today."
For the Mets, the day was entirely about Harvey. Appearing in his first game in 18 months, Harvey struck out three, broke two bats and breezed through a pair of perfect innings, saying afterward that he was particularly pleased with the state of his curveball. But Price was nearly as good for the Tigers in his two innings, emerging unscathed despite hitting Daniel Murphy with a pitch and walking Michael Cuddyer.
Murphy left the game with a bruised right hand, but did not consider it anything worrisome.
It was not until Noah Syndergaard, the Mets' top-ranked prospect according to MLB.com, entered the game that offense began flowing more freely. The Tigers took an early lead on a Jose Iglesias RBI single and a Bryan Holaday sacrifice fly in the fourth inning off Syndergaard, but the Mets took a lead on Matt den Dekker's two-run double in the seventh. An inning later, Aaron Westlake tied things back up for the Tigers. Matt Reynolds won it for the Mets with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.
"I felt really good actually," Syndergaard said. "I tried to stay within myself, tried to repeat my delivery, and went out there and had some fun -- the most important part."
With Harvey on the mound, nearly everyone did.
"I'm a big fan, so it's good for baseball that he's back," Price said. "Hopefully he can stay healthy and be the same guy he was before he got hurt."
Tigers Up Next: Justin Verlander makes his first Spring Training start on Saturday when the Tigers visit the Braves in Lake Buena Vista. Opposing him will be Shelby Miller, who was acquired for Jason Heyward in an offseason trade with the Cardinals. The 1:05 p.m. ET contest will be available via MLB Gameday Audio online.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.