SEATTLE (AP) — Jefry Marte has played more than 700 baseball games in his professional career, but the one game he played Wednesday was all that mattered.
Marte, in his first big league start after bouncing around eight years in the minor leagues, got an RBI double for his first hit in the majors and added a solo home run that sent the Detroit Tigers over the Seattle Mariners 5-4.
"So excited. My first career homer in big leagues. Man," the 24-year-old Dominican said. "I give the ball to my wife, my parents."
Marte made his big league debut last Sunday and had struck out in his only at-bat. The 24-year-old played first base while the Tigers are minus injured Miguel Cabrera.
Making his first start, Marte doubled during a three-run second and scored later in the inning.
Marte homered in the fourth against J.A. Happ (4-6) to make it 4-2.
"No doubt, it’s a great feeling for him," Tigers teammate Victor Martinez. "Your first hit, your first home run, everything you do first is pretty neat."
Marte was first signed in 2007 by the Mets but never advanced past Double-A. The Tigers signed him as a minor league free agent over the winter and he hit .271 with Triple-A Toledo with a league-leading 55 RBIs before his promotion.
"I always work hard every day because you never know when you get the opportunity to play here," said Marte, who called his family and friends in the Dominican before the game to tell them he was starting.
Nick Castellanos hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the seventh that broke a 4-4 tie.
Anibal Sanchez (8-7) got the win. Joakim Soria put two runners on base in the ninth, but struck out Mark Trumbo for his 19th save in 21 opportunities.
Trumbo had three of the Mariners’ six hits and scored twice.
Dustin Ackley hit a two-run homer in the fourth that made it 4-all.
The two teams combined for 14 home runs in the three-game series at Safeco Field, tying the ballpark. Detroit connected nine times.
The Tigers took the lead in the seventh when Yoenis Cespedes and Martinez singled and J.D. Martinez was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.
Castellanos hit a flyball to center field, and Ackley threw out Victor Martinez at third base as the go-ahead run scored.
The Mariners were 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
"I think that’s a piece of it," said Trent Jewett, running the Mariners while manager Lloyd McClendon is away.
"We scored four runs, we obviously had plenty of opportunities to push a lot more across … didn’t get that done. You certainly would like to be more efficient in those spots and we weren’t."
Tigers: Cabrera (strained left calf) has not even begun to work the leg. He’s primarily trying to keep the swelling down with ice. He has a six-week timetable for his return.
Mariners: CF Austin Jackson left the game in the fourth inning with back spasms. He is day to day.
Tigers: LHP David Price (8-2, 2.54) has won his past four decisions, two with complete games. He’s on the road against Minnesota, a team he has beaten twice already this season. Price has the third-best road ERA in the league (1.86). He’ll be opposed by RHP Mike Pelfrey (5-5, 3.94).
Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez (10-5, 3.02) has lost his past two decisions after becoming the first AL 10-game winner on June 17. Hernandez will make his 44th career start against the Angels with so-so results, 13-13 with a 3.34 ERA. Over his last nine starts against LA, however, he is 5-0 with an 0.93 ERA. He matches up RHP Garrett Richards (9-5, 3.35) in Seattle.
The Tigers held onto their own when LHP Tom Gorzelanny and 2B Josh Wilson, designated for assignment this month, both agreed to remain with the organization. They were assigned to Triple-A Toledo. The club is waiting the decision for one more DFA, righty reliever Joba Chamberlain. The club also made another move, recalling RHP Buck Farmer from Toledo and optioning LHP Kyle Ryan.
A fan bolted out of the stands from behind home plate with one out in the second inning and began running the bases. The intruder, barefoot and nearly shirtless, rounded first, then was roughly tackled by a security guard. He was handcuffed by two police officers and escorted out the center-field gate.