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Tigers come undone in seventh, fall to Mariners

Detroit allows five runs in decisive inning, squandering four-run lead
Special to MLB.com

SEATTLE -- It took one bad inning to undo what had been a superb night from Detroit Tigers starter Michael Fulmer. And in doing so, undid Fulmer's chance for his first win since April 7 as the Tigers fell to the Seattle Mariners 5-4 at Safeco Field on Friday night.

Mariners slugger Mitch Haniger hit an RBI double to cap a five-run Seattle outburst, a rally that saw the Tigers go through four pitchers before it was over. The Detroit foursome surrendered four walks in the inning, leading to a tying RBI single by Jean Segura and the go-ahead double by Haniger.

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SEATTLE -- It took one bad inning to undo what had been a superb night from Detroit Tigers starter Michael Fulmer. And in doing so, undid Fulmer's chance for his first win since April 7 as the Tigers fell to the Seattle Mariners 5-4 at Safeco Field on Friday night.

Mariners slugger Mitch Haniger hit an RBI double to cap a five-run Seattle outburst, a rally that saw the Tigers go through four pitchers before it was over. The Detroit foursome surrendered four walks in the inning, leading to a tying RBI single by Jean Segura and the go-ahead double by Haniger.

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It left Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire to bemoan wasting a gem by Fulmer.

"We had a great performance," he said. "You don't often do too well when you walk four guys in an inning. The seventh inning was a tough inning for us."

Up until then, it looked like a golden opportunity for Fulmer to get back on the winning track. Fulmer pitched 6 1/3 solid innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out seven and setting down 13 straight at one point.

But he also gave up three runs, which served to start the rally that undid Detroit. And it served as a reminder to the right-hander of his recent struggles getting through the late innings.

"It's all frustration," a crestfallen Fulmer said. "I just can't seem to figure it out right now. I just can't put a complete game together. All the work I've put in and it just falls apart."

Video: DET@SEA: Martinez powers RBI double into left field

But early on, Fulmer was on top of his game, as Mariners manager Scott Servais noted.

"He was dominant," Servais said. "It was commanding the fastball away, getting the slider over. There wasn't a whole lot we could do against him. He has a track record of being very tough. We got to him over in Detroit last weekend, but tonight he was really, really good. The stuff was really on fire and he was locating it very well."

The Mariners got to Fulmer as Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager led off the seventh with walks and were moved over on Ryon Healy's grounder to third. Ben Gamel followed with a two-run single to right that ended Fulmer's night.

But that still left the Tigers' bullpen with some work to do. And when the bullpen entered the game tied for the MLB lead with 10 blown saves, that was a worry.

Buck Farmer replaced Fulmer and walked Mike Zunino and Guillermo Heredia to load the bases. Lefty Daniel Stumpf came in for Farmer and induced Dee Gordon into a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 4-3.

Video: DET@SEA: Hicks plates 2 on a double in the 1st

Segura singled off Warwick Saupold -- Detroit's fourth pitcher in this bullpen conga line -- to bring home Zunino and tie it 4-4.

Haniger followed with his tiebreaking double, which would pin Farmer (0-2) with the loss. Reliever Dan Altavilla (3-2) earned the win for Seattle.

If Fulmer blamed himself for the loss, others were ready to take that responsibility as well.

"We lose the lead late, and it's on me," Farmer said. "It's always frustrating."

Up until the seventh, there was never a question of offense as the Tigers jumped on Seattle starter Felix Hernandez early. John Hicks hit a two-run double and Niko Goodrum added an RBI double in the first inning, giving Fulmer the support he needed.

Victor Martinez hit an RBI double in the fifth inning -- which then seemed like a luxury in a contest in which the Mariners didn't reach second base until the seventh inning.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Tigers jumped on Hernandez early as back-to-back doubles by Hicks and Goodrum staked Detroit to a three-run lead in the top of the first inning. That gave Fulmer a buffer for most of the night -- and it turned out the Tigers needed more.

Video: DET@SEA: Goodrum plants RBI double to center field

SOUND SMART
Hicks has been hot since taking over for the injured Miguel Cabrera on May 4. But he's turned it up a notch since May 12, batting .393 (11-for-28) and hitting safely in seven of eight games in that stretch. His two-run double in the first inning off Hernandez gave the Tigers an early lead.

HE SAID IT
"Fulmer was throwing fantastic, his pitch count was down and then all of a sudden, a couple of walks and you give up a base hit knocking in a couple of runs. Then you bring in Farmer and he walks a couple of guys. It becomes a merry-go-round." -- Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire, on the Mariners' seventh-inning rally that dismantled the Tigers

UP NEXT
Mike Fiers will get the start for the Tigers when they take on the Mariners at 9:10 p.m. ET on Saturday. The righty has won his last two starts, allowing three runs over that stretch of 11 1/3 innings. His last outing against Cleveland on May 14 was the third time in seven starts this season he'd gone six innings, allowing three hits and a run with five strikeouts. The Mariners will send James Paxton to the mound.

Rob Shore is a contributor to MLB.com based in Seattle.

Detroit Tigers