SEATTLE -- James Paxton didn't throw a no-hitter. He didn't have an eagle landing on his shoulder. No, this was just Paxton getting back to the business of becoming one of the dominant pitchers in the Majors as the Mariners lefty quieted Detroit in a 7-2 victory Saturday night at
SEATTLE -- James Paxton didn't throw a no-hitter. He didn't have an eagle landing on his shoulder. No, this was just Paxton getting back to the business of becoming one of the dominant pitchers in the Majors as the Mariners lefty quieted Detroit in a 7-2 victory Saturday night at Safeco Field.
Pitching at home for the first time since no-hitting Toronto 11 days earlier, Paxton tamed the Tigers on three hits and two runs in the second complete game of his career. The emerging Mariners ace struck out eight and walked one; he's now 2-0 with a 1.70 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 36 innings over his last five starts.
"We just jumped on his back tonight," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "It's been fun watching him evolve over the last 4-5 outings and taking a next step and establishing himself as one of the best starters in this league. There's no question about it."
The Mariners have been careful in pushing Paxton too far, as he's missed time with injuries in his previous four seasons in the big leagues. But sitting at 104 pitches after eight frames, Servais sent the 29-year-old back out for the ninth and he retired the side in order, finishing the game with 15 straight outs.
Paxton's pitch count of 117 was one shy of his career high. He threw 118 in 6 2/3 innings against the Rangers in 2014.
"I felt good. My arm felt good," Paxton said. "I saw my pitch count was low and decided to just go out and finish it. I like to be able to get to that 115-120 pitch count and just condition myself for it because we're going to need me to go 120 pitches or something like that. So to get a game in like that now is good."
The Mariners, who lost 5-4 at Detroit in Paxton's last start at Comerica Park last weekend, provided plenty of hits -- and some pretty good glove work -- in this one as they improved to 26-19, just two games back of the Astros in the American League West.
Jean Segura went 2-for-4 with a homer, triple and three RBIs, Ben Gamel was 2-for-4 with a double and his first home run of the season and Dee Gordon unleashed a bases-loaded double off reliever Artie Lewicki's glove to highlight a four-run seventh.
Segura has been on a tear since his close friend Robinson Cano was suspended on Tuesday, hitting .381 (8-for-21) with a double, triple, home run, four stolen bases, five RBIs and five runs.
"Jean is getting good pitches to hit and he's hitting everything," Servais said. "He's on everything, using the whole field to hit. He didn't even feel good coming in today. He didn't take batting practice, just kind of low-keyed it. He's been playing really, really hard."
Victor Martinez homered to lead off the second for Detroit, but the Tigers fell to 20-25.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Gordon has been a force at the top of Seattle's lineup this year, but was lugging an 0-for-10 stretch into his bases-loaded at-bat in the sixth against Lewicki. The fleet Gordon laced a 99 mph grounder back up the middle that deflected off Lewicki's glove and got past Tigers second baseman Dixon Machado as he tried to reverse course. As the ball rolled into shallow right field, Gordon steamed into second and two runs scored.
"Dee Gordon is really fast," said Servais. "That ball barely made it to the outfield grass and he got to second base. Not many guys in this league can do that."
Paxton joins Carlos Carrasco as the only pitchers in the Majors with two complete games this season. He's the first Mariners pitcher with two complete games in the first 45 games of the season since Felix Hernandez in 2011.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger made a spectacular catch of a foul ball by Jose Iglesias in the fifth inning, tumbling backward over the short fence down the line and holding on despite landing on his back.
"That was quite a play," said Paxton. "He's one of those guys that will run through a wall for you, literally. He was great out there."
HE SAID IT
"It's awesome to really see a guy come into his own. Let alone the no-hitter, but just this stretch of his last 5-6 starts. You really see a guy that didn't have his best stuff one day but was able to pitch us into the sixth, then all the sudden you throw in a 16-strikeout game, you throw in a no-hitter and you throw in another complete game. It's pretty impressive." -- Catcher Mike Zunino, on Paxton's progress
Wade LeBlanc (0-0, 2.51 ERA) wraps up the four-game series against Tigers lefty Francisco Liriano (3-1, 4.03) in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. PT game at Safeco Field. The Mariners southpaw has been outstanding since moving into the rotation for the injured Erasmo Ramirez, allowing just one run and 10 hits in 15 innings, with one walk and 10 strikeouts.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.