April 28, 2011 in Sports

Mariners sweep Tigers

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Michael Pineda (36) reacts after striking out Detroit Tigers Alex Avila to end the sixth inning on Thursday in Detroit. Pineda struck out nine in the Mariners 7-2 win.
(Full-size photo)

DETROIT — Rookie Michael Pineda struck out nine in six sharp innings, and Miguel Olivo and Luis Rodriguez each homered to help the Seattle Mariners beat Detroit 7-2 on Thursday for a three-game sweep of the Tigers.

Ichiro Suzuki added two hits, and Justin Smoak hit an RBI double in the fourth inning that put Seattle ahead to stay. The Mariners swept a three-game set against Detroit for the first time since July 2003.

Pineda (4-1) struck out the first four batters he faced. Although he allowed a couple runs in the second inning, the 6-foot-7, hard-throwing righty was overpowering at times.

Brad Penny (1-3) gave up four runs on nine hits and a walk for the Tigers. He struck out three.

The 22-year-old Pineda allowed four hits and three walks in his fifth career start. This was actually the most runs he’d given up since his debut April 5, and his ERA rose from 1.78 to 2.01. That was small consolation for the Tigers.

Detroit didn’t put a ball in play off Pineda until Brennan Boesch doubled in the second. Ryan Raburn followed with a walk, and Alex Avila drove both runners in with a double, but the lead didn’t last.

Suzuki hit an RBI double in the third, and Chone Figgins drove home a run with a groundball. Smoak gave the Mariners the lead in the fourth, and Olivo added a solo homer leading off the sixth to make it 4-2.

It was a far cry from Penny’s last start, a dominant outing against the White Sox in which he allowed one hit through seven innings.

Rodriguez broke it open in the eighth with a three-run shot off Ryan Perry — the infielder’s ninth career homer and first since July 24, 2009.

Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge had the day off for Detroit. The Tigers started only four right-handed hitters against Pineda, but it was no use. He breezed through the first inning on 12 pitches, then struck out Miguel Cabrera on nine to start the second inning.

It wasn’t as easy after that, but Seattle’s offense provided more than enough support. The Mariners outscored Detroit 24-6 in the series.

Suzuki already has 12 multihit games, and Olivo continued his torrid stretch against Detroit. The Seattle catcher has just 17 hits on the season — but 10 have been against the Tigers.

Notes

Pineda threw 101 pitches. … The Tigers were preparing to bus to their next series at Cleveland, which is only about a 170-mile drive from Detroit. “I’m really looking forward to it,” manager Jim Leyland said. “I think it makes a lot of sense. I think it’s a great idea.” … Seattle 2B Jack Wilson left the game in the fifth with irritation of the right eye.

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