DETROIT — Nelson Cruz and J.D. Martinez traded mammoth home runs — then Franklin Gutierrez upstaged them both.
Gutierrez’s pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning lifted the Seattle Mariners to a wild 11-9 victory over the Detroit on Tuesday, pushing the Tigers one loss closer to a trade deadline that could have drastic consequences in Motown.
The Tigers had come back from a 5-1 deficit and led 8-6 when Neftali Feliz (1-3) allowed five runs in the eighth. Feliz, who was picked up by Detroit on July 11 after refusing a minor league assignment from Texas, allowed a run on a wild pitch before giving up Gutierrez’s opposite-field drive. There was no activity in the Detroit bullpen as Seattle rallied.
“I was looking for his fastball, and he threw me a fastball,” Gutierrez said. “As soon as I saw the right fielder not moving at all, I knew the ball was out.”
Joe Beimel (1-1) got the win in relief, and Carson Smith got four outs for his eighth save.
Seattle’s Cruz and Detroit’s Martinez each hit long home runs to center field in the third. Yoenis Cespedes and Nick Castellanos also homered for Detroit.
The Tigers entered the game facing a four-game deficit in the race for a wild card in the American League, leading to talk they might trade David Price, Cespedes and perhaps some other big-name players before the July 31 deadline.
Detroit’s clubhouse was closed to the media for a while before the game. Manager Brad Ausmus wouldn’t say what went on, but the Tigers are certainly aware of the urgency of their situation.
“At the beginning of the season, we expected better than this, but we are where we are,” shortstop Andrew Romine said. “We’re still a good team and there is a long way to go. I’ve seen teams come back from farther than we are right now, and that’s how we have to think about this.”
Detroit’s Shane Greene allowed four runs in the first inning, and Cruz’s 22nd homer of the season made it 5-1. That drive went into the second row of bushes beyond the wall in center and was measured at 455 feet by MLB.com.
“Homers are homers,” Cruz said. “They’re just homers.”
Martinez’s homer in the bottom of the inning went 12 feet farther, reaching the ivy above a camera platform. It was his 27th of the year.
“It’s a huge park. Those guys have some pretty good power,” Gutierrez said. “It was amazing.”
Cespedes tied it with a two-run shot in the fifth, and the Tigers scored four runs in the inning to lead 7-5.
With the score 8-6 after Castellanos went deep in the seventh, Feliz, Alex Wilson and closer Joakim Soria were Detroit’s only remaining relievers. Wilson had posted a 2.03 ERA in his first 33 appearances this year, but Ausmus didn’t want to use him since he wanted to save a multiple-inning reliever for the possibility of extra innings.
With the bases loaded and two out, Feliz threw a wild pitch. After an intentional walk, Gutierrez hit the second pinch-hit grand slam in Mariners history. Ben Broussard hit one in 2007.
Wilson did pitch a scoreless ninth.
Seattle’s Taijuan Walker allowed five earned runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings. Greene allowed five runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings.
It was Greene’s sixth straight start with at least four runs allowed.
Mariners: Seattle is without LHP Charlie Furbush (left biceps tendinitis) and LHP James Paxton (strained left middle finger) — they are both on the DL.
Tigers: There was no update on the status of slugger Miguel Cabrera (left calf strain), who is not expected back before mid-August.
Detroit RHP Anibal Sanchez (9-7) faces Seattle LHP Mike Montgomery (4-3) on Wednesday night.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.