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The Seattle Mariners said they haven't made a decision whether or not to deal Cliff Lee, who will become a free agent at the end of this year. It's hard to imagine his trade value getting any higher.

Coming off his third straight complete game, Lee will take the mound for the Mariners on Sunday when they try to avoid being swept by the Detroit Tigers.

When Seattle (33-47) acquired Lee (7-3, 2.45 ERA) from Philadelphia in the offseason, it had hopes of contending in the AL West. The Mariners, though, are in last place in the AL West and likely to ship him to a contender before the July 31 trade deadline.

"I'm a Mariner until they tell me otherwise," Lee said after throwing an eight-hitter Tuesday in a 7-4 win over the New York Yankees. "I'm going to continue to help the Mariners win every time I take the mound."

Lee, who has five complete games this season, has a 1.33 ERA in his last three starts and the highest strikeout-to-walk ratio (78 strikeouts to five walks) in the majors.

General manager Jack Zduriencik said how the Mariners play over the next few weeks will determine what happens with Lee.

"When we acquired Cliff, we were hoping that we would have a better season than what we've had up to this point," he told the Mariners' official website. "Our focus right now is to win baseball games."

Lee is 5-9 with a 4.76 ERA lifetime against the Tigers, losing his last three starts. On Sunday, he'll try to help the Mariners avoid being swept by Detroit (43-36), which has outscored Seattle 13-2 in the first two games of the series.

Brandon Inge drove in three runs and Justin Verlander struck out 10 in seven innings of a 6-1 victory Saturday. The win moved the Tigers into a first-place tie in the AL Central with Minnesota.

"Just play good baseball and everything else is going to take care of itself," Inge said. "Because we have a good team. We just need to play good and concentrate."

Detroit has scored 35 runs and hit .308 over its last six games and received another boost with the return of Miguel Cabrera, who was a late scratch Friday with lower back tightness. He went 1 for 2 to extend his hitting streak to 12 games and walked twice while also scoring twice.

The Tigers, who have won 12 of 13 at home, will hand the ball to Jeremy Bonderman (4-5, 4.36), who looks to win his third straight start.

Bonderman allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-5 win over Minnesota on Monday.

"Luck was on my side, I guess," he told the Tigers' official website. "I definitely didn't deserve to win, and they probably should've scored a bunch of runs on Monday."

Bonderman has made two starts in Seattle this season. The right-hander gave up 10 runs in four innings of an 11-3 loss April 16, but allowed one unearned run in seven innings of a 5-4 loss May 26. He did not factor in the decision.

Tagged: Tigers, Mariners, Cliff Lee, Jeremy Bonderman

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