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Sports >  Seattle Mariners

Mariners score twice in 15th inning to defeat Detroit

Seattle’s Leonys Martin, left, embraces Mike Zunino after Zunino’s sacrifice fly in the 15th inning gave the Mariners a 6-5 victory over Detroit in a game that started on Tuesday and ended Wednesday. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Seattle’s Leonys Martin, left, embraces Mike Zunino after Zunino’s sacrifice fly in the 15th inning gave the Mariners a 6-5 victory over Detroit in a game that started on Tuesday and ended Wednesday. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
By Bob Dutton Tacoma News Tribune

SEATTLE – You really do have to stick around with these Mariners.

No matter how long it takes.

Mike Zunino’s sacrifice fly capped a two-run 15th inning Tuesday night that rallied the Mariners to a remarkable 6-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Safeco Field.

The Mariners’ comeback countered Victor Martinez’s leadoff homer in the top of the inning against Ariel Miranda, a starter pressed into duty when the Mariners ran out of relievers.

Nelson Cruz started the winning rally by drawing a one-out walk against Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez (1-3). Cruz went to second on Adam Lind’s single to right.

Kyle Seager followed with a slicing single to left that scored Cruz. When left fielder Justin Upton misplayed the ball, Lind reached third and Seager advanced to second.

That allowed Lind to score the winning run on Zunino’s sacrifice fly to center. Lind easily beat an off-line throw from Tyler Collins.

It was Seager who erased a 4-1 deficit in the eighth inning with a three-run homer against Justin Wilson.

The victory went to Miranda — the first of his big-league career. He was slotted to start Friday night at Oakland, but the Mariners had few alternatives after exhausting their bullpen.

The Tigers had also used a starter, Matt Boyd, in the 14th inning, and he was in line for the victory before the Mariners rallied against Rodriguez.

It was the Mariners’ seventh walk-off victory over the season and extended their winning streak to five games.

Detroit nearly won the game in the 14th.

Casey McGehee led off with a single to right against Tom Wilhelmsen, the Mariners’ final available reliever.

McGehee moved to second on Collins’ one-out single into center before a four-pitch walk to Ian Kinsler loaded the bases. Wilhelmsen struck out Jose Iglesias.

And then Wilhelmsen stranded all three runners by retiring Miguel Cabrera on a routine fly to right. It was a big missed chance that mirrored the Mariners’ frustration earlier in the game in a similar situation.

Seager had come up empty in his two previous at-bats. He popped to short center with one out and a runner at third base in the fourth inning, He then struck out on three pitches with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth.

Initial atonement came on a first-pitch swing in the eighth inning. Seager drove a cutter from Justin Wilson into a right-field seats for his 21st homer of the season.

The Mariners trailed 4-1 when Lind sent a two-out fly to left field that hopped the wall for a double. That moved Cruz to third base.

Before then, the Mariners spent most the night squandering chances.

They trailed by three runs when they loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth inning on singles by Franklin Gutierrez, Cano and Cruz.

That finished Detroit starter Daniel Norris.

When the Tigers summoned right-handed reliever Alex Wilson, the Mariners countered by sending up Lind as a pinch-hitter for Dae-Ho Lee.

Lind turned on Alex Wilson’s first pitch and sent it deep — but just foul — to right field. Lind then flied out to short left. The runners had to hold.

That was as close as the Mariners came to scoring that inning.

Seager struck out on three pitches; the third was a fastball not close to the outside edge of the plate. Pinch-hitter Seth Smith struck out on a full-count pitch that was down-and-away and out of the strike zone.

Nothing. Bases loaded with no outs and…squat.

Cycle back a few innings to the fourth.

Detroit led 3-0 when the Mariners did break through against Norris after Cano led off with a double into the left-field corner.

Cruz followed with a drive to deep right that eluded J.D. Martinez at the wall, then caromed off the wall and resulted in an RBI triple. But with Cruz at third with no outs, the Mariners let him die there.

Lee and Seager popped to short center, which forced Cruz to hold, before Norris retired Chris Iannetta on a ground to short. It amounted to an appetizer for the sixth-inning fiasco.

Norris gave up one run in five-plus innings before Detroit went to the its bullpen. Alex Wilson and Kyle Ryan protected the three-run lead before Seager pulled the Mariners even against Justin Wilson.

Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc was in trouble, literally, from his first pitch, which Kinsler yanked into the left-field corner for a double. Iglesias followed by lining a single into center that moved Kinsler to third.

Cabrera and Victor Martinez then pulled RBI singles to left for a 2-0 lead before LeBlanc finally recorded an out.

LeBlanc gave up 10 hits and three walks in five innings — so limiting the damage to four runs required some escapability skills. He gave up leadoff homers to Cabrera in the third inning and J.D. Martinez in the fifth.

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