Tigers-Mariners Preview

One night after Detroit’s ace helped his team end its losing

streak to the Seattle Mariners, rookie Drew Smyly hopes to lead the

Tigers to a series victory.

The left-hander looks to continue the strong start to his career

Wednesday night when the Tigers conclude their three-game set at

Safeco Field.

Justin Verlander wasn’t totally sharp while allowing three runs

in six innings Tuesday, but he won his 12th straight road decision

as Detroit (15-14) evened the series with a 6-4 victory. The win

snapped a five-game skid to Seattle, which won the previous four in


Verlander got plenty of support early as the Tigers scored five

runs over the first two innings. Andy Dirks had two hits with three

RBIs and Prince Fielder added his fifth homer in the seventh to put

Detroit in position to win two in a row for the first time since a

four-game run April 15-18.

Despite the early offense, manager Jim Leyland still is not

happy with his team’s production. The Tigers have scored six or

more runs seven times in 29 games.

“We’re not going to hit if we swing at the kind of pitches we

swung at tonight after the third or fourth inning,” said Leyland,

who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the third.

Fielder and Dirks, however, are a combined 16 for 31 (.516) with

three home runs and eight RBIs in the last four games.

Smyly (1-0, 1.61 ERA), who began the season at Triple-A Toledo,

has been a pleasant surprise while allowing five earned runs and

striking out 29 in 28 innings of his first five career starts. He

allowed two runs and fanned seven for a third straight start over

six innings while not factoring in Friday’s 5-4 win over


“Of course you want to get a win, but as long as the team wins

there’s not much you can do about it,” Smyly told the Tigers’

official website. “All you can do is just go out and pitch and keep

your team in the game and hope for a win or a no-decision. Just

stay away from the losses.”

He did not face the Mariners when they swept the Tigers at

Comerica Park last month.

Seattle (14-18), which had won three in a row, rallied for three

runs in the fourth inning but fell short after leaving the bases

loaded in the ninth Tuesday.

“They’re going to get better, and they are getting better,”

manager Eric Wedge told the Mariners’ official website about his

club. “It never happens on your timetable or my timetable, but it

is going to happen.”

Third baseman Kyle Seager, 2 for 4 with two RBIs on Tuesday, has

batted .348 with 13 RBIs in his last 13 games.

Scheduled Mariners starter Jason Vargas (3-2, 3.09) has allowed

two runs and eight hits over 13 1-3 innings while going 1-0 in two

home outings. The left-hander gave up a run with four hits in 6 1-3

innings Friday against visiting Minnesota, but Seattle’s bullpen

failed to hold a lead en route to a 3-2 loss.

Vargas allowed four runs in six innings and still earned the win

in a 7-4 victory at Detroit on April 24 to improve to 1-1 with a

5.91 ERA in four starts against the Tigers. He’s posted a 3.27 ERA

while not factoring in the decision in either of his home starts

versus Detroit.