MARINERS SCORE SEVEN RUNS IN SIXTH, SEVENTH INNINGS
What happened: Nelson Cruz went 2 for 4 with three RBIs, including a key two-run double in the sixth inning, and the Seattle Mariners won their fourth straight, knocking off the Detroit Tigers 7-5 at Safeco Field in Seattle.
The Mariners reached .500 for the fourth time this season.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander carried a perfect game into the sixth but quickly unraveled. Cruz’ double was the dagger that ended his night, but Jarrod Dyson’s bunt single – which broke up the perfecto – was the igniter.
Dyson’s bunt single started a three-run rally in the sixth, then the M’s put up four more in the seventh, then held on during a shaky ninth where the tying run came to the plate in the person of Miguel Cabrera. But Edwin Diaz got Cabrera to ground out to preserve the win – and his 12th save.
Mariners starter James Paxton was strong to start, belaying fears he was pitching through residual soreness or arm fatigue his last couple of outings. But he gave up single runs in the third and fourth innings, and as his pitch count kept rising he found more trouble, giving up two more in the sixth before leaving.
His defense didn’t help him either, as Dyson’s throwing error in the sixth helped the Tigers get into scoring position leading up to two runs.
Ben Gamel’s sixth inning RBI single extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and Mitch Hanniger hit a seventh-inning homer, his sixth of the season.
- Paxton cruised through the first two innings, striking out the side in the second. In the third, James McCann turned a 96 mph fastball around to right-center field for his eighth homer of the season to lead off the frame. But Paxton came back to get the next three in order.
- The homer notwithstanding, Paxton looked much sharper than his previous two starts and his velocity was back on par.
- Only problem: Justin Verlander was perfect through three, with six strikeouts to boot.
- After Paxton got Miguel Cabrera to swing through 97 tailing away for strike three leading off the fourth, J.D. Martinez doubled into the left field corner, then came around to score on Justin Upton’s single up the middle. Mike Zunino threw out Upton trying to steal and though replays showed it was close, there was no review.
- The Tigers got to Paxton again in the sixth. Cabrera led off with a single, went to second on Martinez’ single and moved to third on Jarrod Dyson’s throwing error. Upton then singled to plate both runners. After former-Mariner John Hicks K’d, Mikie Mahtook dumped a single into right, ending Paxton’s night.
- Reliever Tony Zych came on to get the next two batters to pop up foul to Zunino to end the rally.
- Dyson broke up Verlander’s perfect game bid in the bottom of the sixth, executing a drag bunt to perfection. Zunino then drew a walk to bring up the top of the order. Jean Segura’s broken bat flare fell behind second base to load ’em up.
- Gamel’s single to center after a lengthy at-bat brought in one and after Robinson Cano struck out looking, Nelson Cruz ripped a line-drive double to left that scored two and brought the M’s within a run and ended Verlander’s night. The Tigers walked Kyle Seager, then Danny Valencia popped up to end the rally.
- The M’s rallied in the seventh. Mitch Haniger launched a 95 mph fastball to the stands in left-center for his sixth homer to tie the game. With two down in the frame, Segura walked and Gamel bounced one past third to put two on for Cano, who ripped a double to right-center to score them both. Cruz followed with a single to score Cano to make it 7-4.
Lots of folks will tell you that bunting during a no-hitter or perfect game is against the unwritten rules of baseball, but the M’s were still in it, down 4-0 in the sixth and it’s a huge part of Dyson’s speed game. Verlander didn’t look overly perturbed about it, except that he then started to give up the contact he hadn’t all game.
Tweet of the Day
Players of the Game
Hero: Nelson Cruz. Came through huge with the double to end Verlander’s night.
Goat: Danny Valencia. 0 for 4, two strikeouts, three left on base.
Detroit Tigers (32-39) at Seattle Mariners (37-37) on Thursday at 7:10 p.m at Safeco Field. RHP Andrew Moore (MLB debut) hosts LHP Daniel Norris (4-4, 4.42).
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