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Five-run 7th fuels Mariners to comeback win

Four players drive in at least one run during decisive frame vs. Tigers
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- For six innings, things looked grim on Friday night for the Mariners. Stymied by Tigers starter Michael Fulmer, their offense stagnant again minus Robinson Cano, Seattle appeared headed to a third straight loss and rising questions about where things were headed with their offensive catalyst missing for the next three months.

But all that changed with a five-run flurry in the seventh inning as the Mariners pulled out a much-needed 5-4 win and put smiles back on a team that is hanging tough in the American League West.

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SEATTLE -- For six innings, things looked grim on Friday night for the Mariners. Stymied by Tigers starter Michael Fulmer, their offense stagnant again minus Robinson Cano, Seattle appeared headed to a third straight loss and rising questions about where things were headed with their offensive catalyst missing for the next three months.

But all that changed with a five-run flurry in the seventh inning as the Mariners pulled out a much-needed 5-4 win and put smiles back on a team that is hanging tough in the American League West.

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"Tale of two games," manager Scott Servais called it.

Video: DET@SEA: Servais talks Hernandez, offensive outburst

And the Mariners will take the second half of that equation as Felix Hernandez recovered from a rough first inning and the Mariners' offense awakened from its own slumber in time to send 34,932 fans home happy.

"Big win, big inning," said right fielder Mitch Haniger, whose RBI double capped the winning rally. "Fulmer had really good stuff tonight, but we grinded and got him out of there and then we got into their bullpen and did some damage."

Video: DET@SEA: Haniger on the Mariners' comeback win

Hernandez gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in a shaky opening frame, but settled himself and wound up getting through six innings with just three hits and an unearned run tacked on to those totals.

But Hernandez (5-3, 5.53 ERA) was headed for a loss until Seattle's offense rallied, taking advantage of four walks in the seventh along with three hits and a sacrifice fly to grab the lead after Fulmer had zipped through six scoreless frames on just two singles.

Video: DET@SEA: Hernandez K's Hicks to end top of the 3rd

Ben Gamel's two-run base hit got Seattle's comeback started, Dee Gordon drove in a run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly, Jean Segura tied it with a run-scoring single and Haniger doubled in the go-ahead run.

"Every win is big, but when you go through the week we've had with the travel, the doubleheader with a day game right after and a makeup game on an off-day," catcher Mike Zunino said, "there's a bunch of stuff, the unfortunate news with Robbie. But we have a good group, we never feel we're out of any game and that's the plus about this club. We pick each other up and it's a fun group to be a part of."

Juan Nicasio had allowed 17 hits and nine runs over five innings in his previous seven appearances, but the veteran set-up man put together a 1-2-3 eighth -- albeit with two hard-hit balls that were run down by center fielder Guillermo Heredia and right fielder Haniger -- to preserve the lead.

Edwin Diaz then worked around a leadoff single by James McCann in the ninth to notch his American League-leading 15th save, helped by Zunino throwing out pinch-runner Pete Kozma.

Video: DET@SEA: Diaz strikes out Mahtook to get the save

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hernandez appeared headed for a very short start after his rough first frame and then two walks to open the second. But after Leonys Martin popped out, third baseman Kyle Seager made a strong backhand stop of a JaCoby Jones chopper down the line and turned a nice 5-4-3 double play with new second baseman Gordon to get Hernandez out of trouble. Seager then followed that with an outstanding diving stop of a shot down the line by Nicholas Castellanos leading off the third. Those two plays seemed to settle Hernandez, who allowed only an unearned run the rest of his six innings.

Video: DET@SEA: Seager makes diving stop, gets out at first

"As a pitcher, to have defense like that feels pretty good," Hernandez said. "When Seager made that double play, I've got to go out and compete. That was a big inning for us."

Video: DET@SEA: Seager, Gordon turn DP to escape a jam

SOUND SMART
Segura continued his clutch hitting with his RBI single during the seventh-inning rally as he's batting .384 with runners in scoring position and .429 (15-for-35) since April 19.

Video: DET@SEA: Segura collects game-tying single in the 7th

HE SAID IT
"He's been our most unlucky hitter so far this year, but it's starting to get going for him. He hit that ball -- that's kind of the Gam hole -- he hasn't hit that spot all year, but I bet he had 10 hits there last year. Big two-run single tonight. He's had a good week and hopefully he can keep it going." -- Servais, on Gamel's single up the middle past a diving second baseman in the seventh

Video: DET@SEA: Gamel puts Mariners on board with 2-run hit

UP NEXT
Two pitchers with no-hitters to their credit face off in Saturday's 6:10 p.m. PT game at Safeco Field as Mariners lefty James Paxton (2-1, 3.52 ERA) takes on Tigers right-hander Mike Fiers (4-2, 4.23). After no-hitting Toronto, Paxton allowed three runs on six hits in six innings in a no-decision at Detroit on Sunday. He's 1-0 with a 1.61 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 28 innings over his last four starts. Fiers threw his no-no for the Astros in 2015.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

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