Peguero stars in place of Ichiro
DETROIT — Carlos Peguero homered and tripled starting in place of Ichiro Suzuki in right field, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Friday night.
The struggling Ichiro, who had played in 255 consecutive games, was given the night off. Peguero, a rookie playing his 26th major league game, helped Seattle overcome a 2-1 deficit.
First, he tripled in the fifth and scored the tying run. Then in the seventh, he hit a towering flyball down the right-field line off Brad Penny (5-5) that stayed a few feet fair as it went over the wall.
Chris Ray (3-1) pitched the sixth and seventh innings in relief for Seattle. David Pauley worked the eighth, and Brandon League pitched the ninth for his 18th save.
With two outs and a man on first, pinch-hitter Ramon Santiago lifted a flyball deep to the right-field corner, but it landed foul. He eventually grounded out to end the game.
Victor Martinez hit a two-run homer for the Tigers, one of only five hits for Detroit. The Tigers entered the night a game behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central.
Detroit is now 9-3 in its last 12 games.
Ichiro was left out of the starting lineup amid a lengthy slump. He’s hitting .252 this season and only .149 since May 19.
“He’s been playing baseball for a long time,” manager Eric Wedge said before the game. “He’s mentally tough, he’s physically tough. He has so many different things that are reasons for the fact that he has been so successful, but ultimately, he’s a human being, and everybody needs a break every now and again.”
Justin Smoak put Seattle ahead with a solo homer in the top of the first, his 11th of the season. Martinez answered in the fourth with an opposite-field shot that gave Detroit a 2-1 lead.
Peguero led off the fifth with a triple and scored on Chris Gimenez’s one-out single.
After homering in the seventh to put Seattle ahead, Peguero came up again in the ninth with a man on second and one out, but the Tigers weren’t about to give him another chance to hit. They intentionally walked him.
Seattle starter Erik Bedard allowed two runs and three hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked three before giving way to Ray, who retired six straight Tigers in the sixth and seventh. Pauley took over in the eighth, and pinch-hitter Don Kelly led off with an infield single off his glove. Kelly made it as far as third base before Brennan Boesch struck out swinging at a pitch in the dirt to end the inning.
Penny pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with two strikeouts.