Mariners blank Tigers
SEATTLE – Kyle Seager made the most of his chance against Justin Verlander.
Seager hit a pinch-hit, two-out RBI double in the seventh inning to break a scoreless tie and help give the Mariners a 2-0 victory over the Tigers on Thursday.
Robert Andino singled to left with two outs in the seventh. Seager entered to hit for Brendan Ryan.
“It’s not a normal situation where you pinch hit, but I felt like any opportunity, albeit slight, you’re going to take advantage of it,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Seager hit Verlander’s first pitch into the left-field corner. Andino raced around from first to score.
“It was belt-high and outer half,” Verlander said. “For what he was trying to do right there, it was the perfect pitch. Perfect for what he was trying to do, not what I was trying to do.”
Endy Chavez followed with a single to left, scoring Seager. Tigers catcher Alex Avila caught the throw from left fielder Andy Dirks, but did not position himself in front of the plate to block Seager’s slide. He slid under the tag.
“I was going straight in on my slide,” Seager said. “The ball bounced in front of the plate and he leaned back to catch the hop, which opened it up for me to catch the corner (of the plate).”
The teams started the series finale about 13 hours after the Tigers’ 2-1 victory in 14 innings Wednesday, in a game that had a combined 40 strikeouts and had Justin Smoak tagged out at home in a collision with catcher Brayan Pena for the final out.
“It was the right time, right place, he (Seager) comes in with a big hit,” said closer Tom Wilhelmsen, who picked up his sixth save. “We get another one there to make sure this one is not going extras.”
Verlander (2-2), who threw 126 pitches in seven innings, struck out 12 – two short of his career high – and gave up nine hits, two runs and walked one.
Carter Capps (1-1) worked two innings to pick up his first major league victory.
Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma continued his strong start. He matched up well with Verlander until he developed a blister in the middle finger of his right hand, forcing him to leave after just six innings and 70 pitches. He allowed three hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
“I should be good to go (for his next start),” Iwakuma said through an interpreter. “I’ve had this blister since the last day of spring training and I’ve been fighting through the whole situation. I should be OK.”
In his four starts this season, Iwakuma has allowed just 12 hits, five runs, two walks and 18 strikeouts. He has a 1.69 ERA this season.
One of the Tigers’ best chances came in the first when Miguel Cabrera sent Chavez to the warning track.
But Chavez went to the left-center wall to make the catch.
Chavez also made an outstanding diving catch in the ninth on a Prince Fielder blooper.
The M’s promoted RHP Hector Noesi from Triple-A Tacoma before the game. RHP Bobby LaFromboise, who came up April 10, was sent back down.
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