Moments after Washburn helped the Seattle Mariners finish off a 2-1 win over the Detroit Tigers, he and his teammates gathered around clubhouse televisions to cheer the end of Mark Buerhle’s perfect game against Tampa Bay.
“It would have been pretty hard for me to top that,” Washburn said. “I’ve always liked him, though – he’s another crafty lefty and he wears my No. 56.”
Washburn did more than enough for the Mariners, though, allowing two hits over seven scoreless innings.
“That was as good as I’ve seen him,” said Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu. “He had the fastball working, but he was throwing 65-mph curveballs to Miguel Cabrera. When you can get guys out that many different ways, you can pitch well for a long time.”
Washburn (8-6) allowed two hits and two walks to improve to 5-1 with a 1.81 ERA in his last seven starts.
“I felt great – I had every pitch I needed,” he said. “I was getting flyballs with my four-seam fastball, and groundballs with the sinker, plus I had the curve and the slider. I think I only had to throw one change all day.”
Three relievers finished, with David Aardsma pitching a perfect ninth for his 24th save in 26 tries. Aardsma retired Miguel Cabrera, Marcus Thames and Magglio Ordonez, with the only scare coming on a long foul down the left-field line by Thames.
“That’s a pretty tough group at the heart of a great lineup,” Aardsma said. “The way Thames swung and the way he just stood there, I thought the ball was going to be way foul until I turned around and watched it land.”
After scoring just five runs while being swept by the Yankees, Detroit only managed three runs in the final 24 innings against Seattle.
“If you score one run a game, you aren’t going to win,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “I don’t care how good your pitching is. You can have three Koufaxes and three Drysdales, you’re still not going to win.”
Rookie starter Luke French (1-1) allowed two runs on eight hits in 5 1-3 innings and struck out six without walking a batter.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the first, scoring the only run of the first five innings. Ichiro Suzuki led off with a single, took second on third baseman Brandon Inge‘s throwing error, and scored on Mike Sweeney‘s RBI double.
The Mariners made it 2-0 in the sixth. Jose Lopez started the inning with a double, moved to third on Sweeney’s single and scored when Wladimir Balentien grounded into a force at second.
Curtis Granderson made it 2-1 with a two-out RBI triple off Mark Lowe in the eighth, but Sean White came in to retire Placido Polanco and Aardsma finished off Detroit in the ninth.
“Let me make it real simple for you,” Leyland said. “Score one run a game, you lose. 99.9 percent of the time probably.”
The first pitch was delayed by 26 minutes by rain and the game ended just before another heavy band of rain hit the stadium. … Washburn got his first nine outs via flyballs before striking out Thames to start the fourth. … The Tigers were booed loudly after going out in order in the seventh. At that point, they had scored two runs in their last 22 innings. … The Mariners have won seven series after losing the first game.