Offense comes alive late as Tigers rally past Mariners 4-2
DETROIT (AP) -- Mike Aviles tapped a slow roller toward first base and there was nothing the Seattle Mariners could do with it.
Aviles drove in the tiebreaking run with an infield single in the eighth inning, and the Detroit Tigers went on to beat the Mariners 4-2 on Tuesday night. Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer off Justin Verlander in the sixth to give Seattle a 2-0 lead, but Detroit chipped away in the late innings.
"Aviles had an excellent at-bat," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "It doesn't always have to be pretty, but we say it a lot in this clubhouse, you've got to find a way to get it done, and he did."
Verlander and James Paxton matched scoreless innings until the sixth, when Seager connected for his 15th home run of the season. Nick Castellanos answered with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning, and the Tigers scratched out another run to tie the game in the seventh. With two outs, Jose Iglesias singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Ian Kinsler's single.
The decisive rally in the eighth began with a one-out single by Victor Martinez. He went to third on a double by Castellanos, and after an intentional walk to Justin Upton, the roller by Aviles was enough to bring pinch-runner Andrew Romine home from third.
"That's just baseball. I made the pitch I wanted, and normally that's a great result, but it turns into a terrible outcome for us," Paxton said. "We know there is going to be a point where the breaks go our way, but this is really frustrating."
James McCann added a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2, and Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 22 chances.
Bruce Rondon (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win.
Paxton (1-3) allowed four runs and 11 hits in 7 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out five.
Verlander allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked one.
"It was kind of a shame I battled so hard and then with two outs give up a two-run homer and kind of put us behind the 8-ball," Verlander said. "Our guys really battled. Obviously their guy was cruising pretty good, and we put some tough at-bats on him late in the game and were able to scratch and claw our way back."
Seattle's Ketel Marte, who had four hits in the series opener Monday, added three more Tuesday.
The Tigers plan to bring up LHP Daniel Norris from the minors to start Thursday, and they will put RHP Anibal Sanchez back in the starting rotation to pitch Saturday.
Sanchez is 4-7 with a 5.97 ERA, but he's posted a 1.86 ERA in six relief appearances since being removed from the rotation.
"Working hard all the time when I was in the bullpen. I try to put everything together -- command, speed on my fastball," Sanchez said. "Just ready for Saturday, let's see, to put everything in the game."
The Tigers also announced that INF Casey McGehee has cleared waivers and been optioned to Triple-A Toledo.
The Mariners have homered in 14 straight games, but Seattle is 5-9 during that span. The Mariners went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position Tuesday.
"It is another game that came down to getting runners home from third," manager Scott Servais said. "We just haven't been able to do that when it matters lately. Guys know that we're going through a tough time and they end up trying to fix things with one swing. We probably just need one good day to break out of this."
Mariners: RHP Taijuan Walker had an MRI on his right foot that showed no structural damage. Walker's foot bothered him during a five-inning, 88-pitch start Sunday.
Mariners: Hisashi Iwakuma (6-5) starts against Detroit on Wednesday night, trying for his sixth win in seven starts.
Tigers: Rookie Michael Fulmer (7-2) takes the mound after his five-start winning streak was snapped in his last outing against Kansas City. Over his past six starts, Fulmer has allowed only two runs in 40 innings.