DETROIT – Joe Saunders was much better against Detroit than he was in his previous start.
Then the Tigers broke through in the sixth inning – a frustrating finish for the veteran left-hander.
Victor Martinez hit a tiebreaking single in the sixth, and Omar Infante followed with an RBI single to chase Saunders and help Detroit to a 4-2 victory over Seattle on Monday night. The Mariners have lost seven of eight.
“Everyone hates losing,” Seattle’s Justin Smoak said. “We’ve been in tight ballgames and haven’t been able to get the big hit.”
Rick Porcello struck out 10 in six innings for Detroit, which moved a step closer to its third straight A.L. Central title. Porcello (13-8) allowed a run and five hits with two walks, falling one strikeout short of his career high. Drew Smyly, Jose Veras and Joaquin Benoit finished. Benoit pitched a hitless ninth for his 21st save in 21 chances.
Saunders (11-15) pitched well until the sixth, when he got two outs before a walk and three hits ended his night. He was seen throwing things in the dugout after being pulled, and he did not speak to reporters afterward.
“I think Joe Saunders threw the ball well,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “Against a tough lineup, he threw inside and had a good breaking ball.”
Abraham Almonte homered for Seattle.
It was tied at 1 in the sixth when Miguel Cabrera walked and Prince Fielder followed with a single. Martinez’s single up the line in right field scored Cabrera, and Infante lined a single to left to make it 3-1. That rally made a winner of Porcello.
“He had some real good sink,” Wedge said of Porcello. “He’s more of a complete pitcher than he was three, four years ago, when he was younger.”