Furbush, Smith dial up K's in extended efforts
SEATTLE -- Mariners relievers carried Seattle to a 7-6 win in 11 innings over the Tigers on Tuesday night, and they did it by relying on the strikeout in extended appearances.
The bullpen allowed just three hits while striking out 12 hitters in five innings, the only mark against it coming on a Yoenis Cespedes home run off Fernando Rodney in the eighth inning.
The rest of the night, Seattle's bullpen held, but the zeros on the scoreboard didn't come without high-stress situations.
Lefty reliever Charlie Furbush came on to start the 11th but quickly found himself in a two-on, no-outs hole when Victor Martinez doubled to left-center to start the inning, forcing him to intentionally walk J.D. Martinez.
"I know I've faced Victor before, and he's a tough out and he's gotten a few hits off me," Furbush said. "But I just tried to stick to my game and stick to my strengths, and it all worked out in the end."
It couldn't have worked out better for Furbush, who struck out Alex Avila, Nick Castellanos and pinch-hitter Rajai Davis in succession to get out of the inning.
"I think when it comes down to it, it's about simplifying it and making sure I can execute," Furbush said. "Whatever happens when the ball leaves my hand is kind of out of my control, but I can just make sure I'm in control up there and make sure that I try to execute a pitch."
The 29-year-old lefty threw a season-high 20 pitches in the process and was called on to complete a full inning for just the second time in his last six appearances, but he wasn't the only Mariners reliever who gained a little extra mileage Tuesday night.
After throwing an inning on Monday night, Carson Smith threw a season-high 36 pitches over two innings on Tuesday, striking out five Tigers hitters during the ninth and 10th innings, all coming on a slider Smith said died a bit toward the end of his outing.
Smith ran into some trouble in the 10th but worked around a double to Anthony Gose and a Brad Miller error by keeping Tigers hitters off-balance. The 25-year-old righty flashed a fastball in the mid-to-high 90s and a slider, but also mixed in a changeup against Detroit's left-handed hitters. It's not a pitch he uses often, but he said it is one in which he and his coaches are building confidence as he throws it more.
"When they start adding a third weapon, to have a hitter split on two pitches isn't nearly as difficult as having a hitter divided into three," said Mariners bench coach Trent Jewett. "When you face a lot of left-handers like he had to last night, I think it's a weapon."