Mariners can't overcome Tigers' power in 6-3 loss

Mariners can't overcome Tigers' power in 6-3 loss

Credit: Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images Sport

Mariners can't overcome Tigers' power in 6-3 loss

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by Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on May 30, 2014 at 11:50 PM

Updated Friday, May 30 at 11:50 PM

SEATTLE -- Hisashi Iwakuma threw the entire collection. Fastballs, sliders, cutters, splitters. They all were delivered to Detroit's Victor Martinez during one memorable at-bat.

For nine pitches, Iwakuma avoided making a mistake to the leading hitter in the American League. On the 10th pitch, Seattle's starter got punished for making a poor pitch.

"I thought I did pretty well until that last pitch," Iwakuma said through an interpreter.

Martinez's three-run homer in the fifth inning broke a 2-2 tie, Justin Verlander quieted Seattle for 7 2-3 innings, and the Tigers beat the Mariners 6-3 on Friday night.

Martinez's homer came after Seattle chose to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera. It wasn't a bad decision as Cabrera had hit a two-run homer two innings earlier to give the Tigers an early lead.

But Martinez won the battle with Iwakuma, who left a slider chest-high and in the middle of the plate. Martinez didn't miss, clearing the wall in right for his 13th homer of the season and ninth in May.

"I've seen Victor do that from time to time over the last several years," said Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon, a former coach with the Tigers. "I know what he is capable of doing. It was a calculated risk that didn't work out."

Martinez said he's gone from being angry when teams walk players in front of him to understanding why.

"Hey, if I'm a manager, I'd do the same thing. It is what it is," Martinez said. "(Cabrera's) the best hitter in the game, and you can't let the best hitter in the game beat you. I understand it."

Iwakuma (3-2) lasted six innings in his shortest start of the season. He gave up nine hits and four runs in his last outing against Houston in picking up his first loss. His problem against the Tigers was being unable to finish off an inning. The homers by Cabrera and Martinez both came with two outs.

"I didn't feel any different today over the other days I pitched," Iwakuma said. "Some pitches I intentionally go up in the zone to change eye level. They have a tough lineup and are very tough outs."

Rajai Davis added a solo shot on the first pitch from Seattle reliever Charlie Furbush in the seventh.

While Iwakuma was getting knocked around, Seattle's bats were being mostly silenced by Verlander.  He had lost three of his previous four starts and gave up 11 hits in each of his last two outings. Verlander (6-4) allowed five hits, struck out seven and walked one against Seattle.

Verlander was on the cusp of getting through the eighth for just the second time this season, but James Jones' two-out single forced a change. He threw a season-high 120 pitches.

"I think my rhythm was much better, my consistency was much better and my stuff was a lot better," Verlander said. "That's a good sign in and of itself."

Verlander's only troubles came with Seattle's Kyle Seager, who doubled in his first at-bat and hit a two-run homer in the fourth to pull the Mariners even. Seager was thrown out at home trying to score on an infield groundball in the second, but made up for it with his eighth homer of the season in the fourth.

"He's got the same good stuff, throws hard, got a big curveball and mixes it up pretty good," Seager said. "He picks up the intensity with guys in scoring position."

The Mariners had a chance in the fifth after Endy Chavez's two-out double, but second baseman Ian Kinsler swallowed Jones' hard one-hopper and threw him out to save a run.

Seattle played without second baseman Robinson Cano for the second straight night, sitting out with a minor contusion on his hand. Cano was a late scratch from Thursday's lineup, but said before Friday's game that he was feeling better. He has played at least 159 games in each of the past seven seasons.

NOTES:  It was the first time for McClendon facing the Tigers. McClendon was on Jim Leyland's coaching staff in Detroit from 2006-13 before getting the Seattle job. ... Cabrera's homer snapped Iwakuma's streak of scoreless innings against AL Central teams at 50 1-3.





 

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