DETROIT – The Mariners aren’t going to be greedy. They will happily take their series win over the Tigers to start this nine-game trip, along with a lead in the race for the second wild card, and head to Philadelphia to face the Phillies. No sense lamenting the one game that got away.
A day after being shut down by lefty David Price, Seattle had its way with rookie left-hander Robbie Ray on Sunday, scoring four runs off him in the first five innings and tacking on more runs thanks to shoddy Detroit defense and a weak bullpen to roll to an 8-1 win at a sold-out Comerica Park.
“This was big series for us,” said third baseman Kyle Seager. “We know where we are with them. We know where we are in the (standings). At the same time, we have to put it behind us and move on to the next one and keep playing good baseball.”
The early run support was more than enough for Seattle starter Chris Young, who improved to 12-6, tossing six scoreless inning and allowing just four hits, while striking out four and walking one. The 12 wins tied a career high for Young, not that it matters much to him.
“We won the game and that’s all I care about,” he said. “It’s a great win for us. The guys went out and swung the bats and gave me some room for error and allowed me to be aggressive.”
Young is now 6-2 in 12 starts following losses by the Mariners.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon was ejected in the seventh inning when umpire Tony Randazzo said the manager made a hand gesture after the third base umpire turned down a check-swing appeal on a 3-2 pitch to Alex Avila.
“They said I raised my hand,” McClendon said. “That’s a new one for me.”
Randazzo said McClendon “took his hand and shooed away my call.”
McClendon also was ejected by Randazzo during Detroit’s 4-2 win on Saturday night for arguing balls and strikes, even though McClendon said it wasn’t him complaining.
“I’ve never had a problem with him before this weekend, so I don’t understand this,” McClendon said. “If there’s a history between us, I’m certainly not aware of it.”
Young wasn’t as sharp as he’s been in starts this season, but he worked out of potential danger in the second, third and fifth innings.
“That’s a good team,” Young said. “You expect to be in trouble at some point against a lineup like that. It’s important to continue to make pitches even when there are guys on base.”
It’s something Young has done all season. He makes pitches and keeps the Mariners in games. It gained him the trust of McClendon early in the season and it hasn’t waned.
“It wasn’t his best stuff to date, but he certainly pitched,” McClendon said.
As for the offense, it continues to exceed minimal expectations, averaging 5.1 runs in August.
McClendon had concerns coming into the game about Ray. The M’s hadn’t faced the rookie left-hander and had little scouting information on him. But they forced Ray to work and saw a lot of pitches.
“We had some real good at-bats,” McClendon said. “We didn’t try to do too much. We stayed in the middle of the field, shot some gaps and had some very professional at-bats.”
Seattle jumped on Ray in the first inning. Following a one-out walk from Dustin Ackley and a single for Robinson Cano, Kendrys Morales delivered a run-scoring single. Kyle Seager followed with a sac fly to score Cano.
“We were able to see some pitches and get into counts and then put good swings on the ball,” Seager said. “Thankfully, we were able to get a couple runs early. That allows you to loosen up a little and allows you to settle in.”
The Mariners added a run in the third when Ray wild-pitched Cano home from third. They got another one in the fifth on Chris Denorfia’s RBI triple to deep left-center. It was his third hit of the game.
“He swung the bat extremely well,” McClendon said. “I was very pleased. That triple was big for us to add on.”
Seattle turned the game into the rout against struggling reliever Jim Johnson, while getting some help from the Tigers’ defense.
Johnson, who has been released by the A’s and Orioles this season, lasted two-thirds of an inning, giving up three runs on two hits. Only one of the runs was earned because Rajai Davis dropped a fly ball from Morales with two outs, allowing a run to score. Seager followed with a RBI single to push the lead to 7-0. Seattle made it 8-0 in the eighth on another RBI hit from Seager.