NEW YORK -- Angel Pagan knows his time as an everyday player for the Mets might soon come to an end -- no matter how impressive his play has been.
And boy, has it been impressive.
"Angel's playing extremely well," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "He's been big."
Pagan, subbing in center field all season for injured Carlos Beltran, tied a career high with four hits -- hours after learning that Beltran will begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Class-A St. Lucie.
Beltran is recovering from offseason knee surgery. He could return to the Mets sometime around the All-Star break, which likely would cut into playing time for Pagan and right fielder Jeff Francoeur.
But Pagan, who's hitting .304, said he doesn't think about what will happen when Beltran returns.
"What's in my mind is to help the team as much as I can and to protect Carlos' spot; that's a big responsibility," he said.
Ike Davis had two hits and two RBIs in the third inning as the Mets batted around for seven runs, getting help from Jay Sborz, who became the first pitcher in eight years to hit the first two batters in his first big league game.
"A kid makes his debut like that, you don't like to see that," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "You don't like to see that but it happens. I'm not too concerned about it."
Sborz was pitching in relief of Justin Verlander (8-5), who did not return to the mound after a 58-minute rain delay that began after he allowed an RBI double to Jason Bay in the third inning that gave New York a 3-0 lead.
The Mets returned home from a 7-2 road trip, having lost the final two games of a three-game set with the crosstown rival Yankees, to face the Tigers in New York for the first time since 2004.
The Tigers gave the Mets plenty of help in this matchup of teams that each entered 9-3 in interleague play. Detroit walked seven -- one intentionally -- hit two batters with pitches and allowed Jose Reyes to reach on a third strike that went to the backstop for a wild pitch.
"It was ugly," Leyland said.
Wright had two singles, an RBI double, a sacrifice fly and two walks -- one intentional. Reyes scored three runs and had three hits, and every position player except Rod Barajas drove in a run as the Mets set a season best for runs.
Jonathon Niese did not allow a hit for the first three innings but went 90 minutes between pitches thanks to the rain delay and struggled in the fourth, giving up a two-run homer to Brennan Boesch that went over the 415-foot sign in right-center.
"We had a very, very long inning. It probably cost him," said Manuel, who indicated Niese was ready to pitch after the delay but then sat another 24 minutes while the Mets batted.
Niese labored in the fifth, too. Manuel gave the left-hander every chance to earn his fourth straight win, but lifted him once he walked Brandon Inge to load the bases with two outs.
"The ball got soggy. I just couldn't make the adjustments," Niese said.
Fernando Nieve (2-3) gave up an RBI single to Boesch in 2 1/3 innings and struck out four in a row.
In the third, Davis singled before the rain arrived, then greeted reliever Brad Thomas with a two-run double in an inning that started at 8:06 p.m and ended at 9:34 p.m.
After the tarp was removed, Sborz, called up from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday, hit Barajas with a pitch to load the bases and then plunked Francoeur to force in a run.
Sborz's big league debut was over about as quickly as it started. He got just two outs, one on a diving stop by Inge, who tagged third base with his glove for a forceout, and a strikeout when Niese bunted foul for strike three. Sborz gave up five runs while getting just two outs.
After being lifted, Sborz shook his head in the dugout. Verlander, who also allowed five runs, came over for a word.
Austin Jackson made his first start since hurting his back a week ago. He had an RBI double in the Tigers' four-run fifth.
Pagan singled and grounded out in his two chances to get the cycle. He has a 10-game hitting streak. ... Sborz replaced struggling starter Rick Porcello, optioned to Toledo before Sunday's game. After going 14-9 as a 20-year-old rookie, Porcello is 4-7 with a 6.14 ERA this season. ... The Mets recalled RHP Bobby Parnell from Triple-A Buffalo. He pitched a scoreless inning.