DETROIT – JaCoby Jones started a key rally with his bat, scored an important run with his legs and then helped save the game with his glove.
Jones made a diving catch in the ninth inning to help the Detroit Tigers hold on for a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday. The 26-year-old center fielder also doubled and scored during a three-run sixth for Detroit.
“Great play in center field,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He might do some wacko things every once in a while, but we love it, because he plays with energy. He’s some kind of talented kid.”
Matthew Boyd pitched impressively until the seventh inning, and Jose Iglesias hit a two-run homer for the Tigers. Grayson Greiner contributed the first two RBIs of his big league career.
Boyd (2-3) allowed three runs and three hits in six-plus innings. Three relievers finished the game for Detroit, with Shane Greene pitching the ninth for his eighth save in 10 chances. After a one-out walk, Jones made a diving catch of Ryon Healy’s sinking liner to center.
Mike Zunino followed with a single, putting men on first and third, and another walk loaded the bases. Dee Gordon grounded out to first to end it.
Marco Gonzales (3-3) allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked two.
The Tigers broke a 1-all tie in the sixth. With two out and nobody on, Jones hit a hard grounder that bounced off the left leg of third baseman Kyle Seager and into foul territory for a double. Greiner followed with a single to right, and Jones scored on a very close play at the plate.
The Mariners didn’t challenge the call, and their inning quickly became even worse when Iglesias hit a drive to left that gave Detroit a 4-1 lead.
“It needed to be challenged after the fact when I saw it,” said Manny Acta, who was filling in for Scott Servais as Seattle’s manager. “We had a miscommunication over the phone about it and I’m not going to point fingers. We lose as a team. It shouldn’t happen but it did.”
Acta was managing because Servais was away to watch his daughter receive a master’s degree at Mississippi.
Boyd struck out six and walked three. He was sharp until he hit a batter and allowed a double to start the seventh. Buck Farmer relieved him, and both those runners came home on groundouts to make it 4-3.
Greiner opened the scoring with an RBI single in the fourth. Seattle tied it the following inning on a sacrifice fly by Gordon.
The teams were rained out Friday night, forcing the Tigers to play a doubleheader for the fourth time this season.
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