Tigers homer four times to rout Mariners
SEATTLE -- The Tigers pounded out 19 hits and four home runs to earn a 12-5 series-opening win at Safeco Field on Monday night. Nick Castellanos had four hits and four RBIs and Victor Martinez added another four hits for a Detroit offense that scored 10-plus runs for the sixth time this season.
The Mariners took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth on a three-run home run by Logan Morrison, but Final Vote candidate Yoenis Cespedes started a decisive five-run sixth inning with the Tigers' fourth solo homer. Detroit then knocked five straight singles to open a four-run seventh inning that blew the game open.
Hisashi Iwakuma allowed five runs on eight hits, including four homers, in five-plus innings in his first Major League start since April 25. Tigers starter Alfredo Simon allowed five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, but all the run support carried him to his eighth win of the season.
"We hit the ball well," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "We took advantage of opportunities with men in scoring position. We kept the line moving."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Martinezes mash: The Tigers hit just six home runs in nine games at Safeco Field over the past three years. On Monday, they hit four, including two no-doubt fourth-inning solo shots from hitters named Martinez. Two pitches after Victor hit a drive deep to right field, newly named All-Star J.D. Martinez crushed a drive to the deepest part of the park, just left of straightaway center, for a 3-0 lead. More >
LoMo's launch: Morrison went 4-for-30 during the Mariners' eight-game road trip and was on an 0-for-13 skid when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning. The 27-year-old first baseman launched a 3-2 cutter from Simon 399 feet to right-center for his 11th home run of the season, matching his homer total from the entire 2014 season and giving Seattle a 5-3 lead.
Cespedes powers rally: The Mariners barely had time to celebrate their newfound lead before Cespedes sparked a comeback in the sixth, sending a 432-foot drive deep to center field for a leadoff homer. Seven consecutive Tigers reached base safely that inning, putting Detroit back on top for good. Castellanos hit a go-ahead two-run single as part of his first career four-hit game.
"That was probably the turning point in the game," Ausmus said. "Morrison hits a big three-run homer to give them the lead, and we come right back." More >
Fourth-inning firepower: The Mariners stranded runners in scoring position often in the early innings before breaking through in the fourth. Seth Smith struck out with Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano in scoring position in the first, and Nelson Cruz struck out with Austin Jackson 90 feet from scoring in the third. In the fourth, however, Dustin Ackley hit his first triple of the season to score Smith and Brad Miller doubled to left-center a pitch later to cut the deficit to 3-2.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
J.D. Martinez's home run made him just the second Tigers player in the last 22 years with 24 home runs by the All-Star break. Miguel Cabrera had 30 in 93 games at the break in 2013. Mickey Tettleton hit 24 in 83 games by the break in 1993.
"Personally, when you hit at Comerica [Park] every day and you come to a ballpark like this, it just feels like the ball's flying." -- J.D. Martinez, on whether the ball seemed to be carrying better than usual at Safeco Field
"There was a play there. But let's face it. They got 19 hits and most of them were firm. We can look to a lot of areas. We'd like to play that bunt a little better, but there were other factors." -- Mariners bench coach Trent Jewett, on rookie reliever David Rollins' misplay on the first batter he faced in the five-run sixth
Tigers: Kyle Ryan (1-2, 4.55 ERA), hit around for 11 runs on 16 hits over 14 2/3 innings in his last four appearances, gets what should be a favorable matchup against a lefty-leaning Mariners lineup on Tuesday night at Safeco Field. Ryan, seen by many as a future lefty reliever, has allowed a .294 (10-for-34) average to left-handed hitters this season.
Mariners: Right-hander Taijuan Walker (7-6, 4.34) takes the mound against the Tigers, looking for his sixth straight win. The 22-year-old allowed just one hit and struck out seven over six innings on Wednesday in San Diego to outduel the Padres' James Shields. Walker is 5-0 with a 1.67 ERA over his last five starts and has walked just two hitters while striking out 36 during that span.
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