Tigers hold off Mariners as Marte breaks out
SEATTLE -- Third baseman Nick Castellanos hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the seventh inning as the Tigers held off the Mariners, 5-4, on Wednesday afternoon to close out a series win at Safeco Field.
The Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI single by Castellanos, followed by RBI doubles from first baseman Jefry Marte -- his first Major League hit in his first career start -- and shortstop Jose Iglesias. Marte followed that with his first home run two innings later to give Detroit a 4-2 lead.
Outfielder Dustin Ackley hit a two-run home run to tie the game in the fourth inning and take Mariners starter J.A. Happ off the hook. Happ struggled to keep his pitch count down, allowing four runs on seven hits while walking three in four-plus innings. The Mariners' offense also struggled, going 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ack's jack: After Mariners first baseman Mark Trumbo led off the fourth inning with a single to center, Ackley drove an 85-mph splitter from Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez to right field for his sixth home run of the season and his first since June 23.
"I had tried to bunt for a hit earlier in the at-bat and there was a hit-and-run second pitch, but it was one of those situations where [Sanchez] left something over the plate," Ackley said. "I just put the barrel to it."
Castellanos converts: Hours after trying to set up a sacrifice fly situation for Castellanos in extra innings Tuesday night, the Tigers got another chance Wednesday in the seventh inning. With runners at second and third and one out, Castellanos battled to deliver, fouling off a nasty curveball and a fastball before lofting a ball to medium-range center field, deep enough to score Yoenis Cespedes just before Victor Martinez was thrown out at third base.
"It was just stupid baserunning," Martinez said. "I should've known that Cespedes can score on pretty much anything."
Cespedes runs it down: Cespedes went homerless for the first time this series after powering his Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote campaign with tape-measure drives. What he couldn't drive in, though, he took away in the field, running down a Trumbo line drive in the left-field corner with runners on first and second in the fifth inning before doing the same to Kyle Seager leading off the bottom of the ninth.
"The last one, I didn't think he had a chance to get to," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "But in the words of [pitching coach] Jeff Jones, he has good closing speed." More >
Mariners lose Jackson: Center fielder Austin Jackson was pulled prior to his fourth-inning at-bat with what the club announced as back spasms. "Hopefully it's not anything long term," said Mariners bench coach and acting manager Trent Jewett. More >
"Certainly a good bounce-back win after losing a game you feel like you could've won the night before in extra innings. It makes the flight a lot more fun, and the food on the plane tastes a little better." -- Ausmus
"I think Happ had some breaks that didn't necessarily reflect his performance. Not saying it was his best performance but there were some unfortunate things that happened." -- Jewett
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Iglesias was initially called safe by second-base umpire Joe West when he stole second base with two outs in the sixth inning. Jewett challenged the call, which was overturned to end the top of the sixth after a brief review.
Tigers: Detroit opens a four-game series at Minnesota that could determine the main challenger to the Royals in the American League Central heading into the season's second half, not to mention the division's strongest Wild Card candidate. David Price (8-2, 2.54 ERA) looks to stretch his unbeaten streak to seven consecutive starts when he takes the mound opposite Mike Pelfrey (5-5, 3.94) in Thursday's series opener at 8:10 p.m. CT.
Mariners: Felix Hernandez (10-5, 3.02 ERA) looks for his first win since June 17 as he takes the mound to open a four-game series with the Angels on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. PT at Safeco Field. Hernandez yielded just two runs on 10 hits in seven innings against the A's on Saturday but wound up with the loss. He is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in three starts against the Angels this season.
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