Pitching was the theme of the night in Seattle, where two starters dueled until late in the game. Despite this, it was the Detroit Tigers’ bullpen (who else) and anemic offense (what else) which let them down again. The Mariners scored a late run, and won another close game 2-1.
Drew Smyly was on the hill looking to continue a string of several fantastic starts, and early on he was in a groove. Smyly retired eight batters in a row until a walk, and kept the Mariners’ hitters off balance, not surrendering a run or hit until Ichiro burned him in the fourth with a single and quickly stole second. That set up Kyle Seager, who doubled him home for Seattle’s 1-0 lead. Keeping with the recent theme offensively, Detroit was downright pathetic against Jason Vargas for most of the game. The Tigers only managed one hit through five innings. In the first half of the sixth, the bats would finally awaken. Gerald Laird doubled to center field, and would later score on an Austin Jackson sacrifice fly, tying the game 1-1. Two runners would be stranded by Miguel Cabrera, however. Once again, the game would enter the late innings with a close score, meaning the pressure was on Detroit’s bullpen once again.
In the bottom of the seventh, Luke Putkonen kicked things off by looking impressive while dusting two hitters. Vargas stayed in the game and matched him, quickly whiffing a pair of Tigers. Typically, Putkonen’s dominance could not last. Michael Saunders doubled off him in the eighth while pinch hitting, and John Jaso singled him home, giving the Mariners a late 2-1 lead. The Tigers didn’t get anything done off Brandon League in the ninth, and fell by that one run margin.
See ya’ later, Seattle. The Tigers should be glad to kiss the Mariners goodbye for a while. The team in teal owns Detroit, and showed no signs of letting up in their home park. This was as frustrating of a three game series that Tigers’ fans have likely ever seen. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, several times.
Big Cat: Drew Smyly. Another spectacular start for the rookie, who has been unflappable thus far and looked like a seasoned veteran. Tonight, he had five strikeouts and only two walks while lowering his ERA. If only the Tigers lineup could support him with some runs from time to time, he could be generating plenty of buzz around league circles. Instead, another tough luck appearance for the kid, who has to be wondering when he’ll catch a break and snare a win.
Stray Kitty: Miguel Cabrera. Not often you see one of the best hitters in the game occupying the alleyways of a stray cat. Tonight was certainly not Cabrera’s night, as he was 0-4 with a strikeout and a rally killing double play in the sixth inning. One bright spot? The big man was spectacular defensively, making a few sparkling plays. Even when he’s not pounding the ball, he’s still affecting the game.
Best Play Of The Game: None. It was a relatively boring evening in Seattle, with not much spectacular happening either way. The Tigers got their lone run off a sacrifice fly, and though there were a few nice defensive plays, nothing was quite like Don Kelly’s catch last night.
Worst Play Of The Game: Saunders’ double in the eighth. Two hits doomed Detroit again, the first being a frozen rope down the left field line. Tigers’ fans likely had that old familiar sinking feeling when seeing that play, knowing defeat was likely just around the corner with the pathetic sputtering offense. Once again, John Jaso stuck the knife in two batters later.
On Deck: The Tigers head down the west coast to Oakland for a four game series with the Athletics (and Brandon Inge). Tomorrow’s game starts at 10:05 p.m.