SEATTLE -- Mike Zunino slugged a pair of two-run home runs, Guillermo Heredia launched one of his own and Mariners' bullpen did not allow a run in a 6-2 win over the Tigers on Monday night at Safeco Field, opening a four-game series.Zunino's line-drive homer came on a 3-2 count
SEATTLE -- Mike Zunino slugged a pair of two-run home runs, Guillermo Heredia launched one of his own and Mariners' bullpen did not allow a run in a 6-2 win over the Tigers on Monday night at Safeco Field, opening a four-game series.
Zunino's line-drive homer came on a 3-2 count with the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, and it traveled a projected 403 feet with a launch angle of 18 degrees, his lowest angle on a home run since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015.
"It was just one of those things where I was just trying to see the ball, where I got my bat on it a couple times and missed it," Zunino said. "As I got deeper into the at-bat, I saw what he was throwing and I was just able to get a cutter middle and just throw my hands through and barrel it up."
Steve Cishek, James Pazos, Nick Vincent and Edwin Diaz combined to pitch four scoreless innings in relief of starter Sam Gaviglio, who allowed two runs on three hits over five innings.
Alex Wilson (1-4) was handed the loss after serving up the first two-run blast to Zunino. Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez took a no-decision in his first Major League start of the season, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out five. Ian Kinsler was credited with the Tigers' only RBI on a double down the left-field line.
The Tigers finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine baserunners.
"We're just not swinging the bats well right now," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Guys that are struggling seemingly all at once."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hold up: Pazos recorded two key strikeouts with the bases loaded in a decisive top of the sixth inning to keep the game tied. The left-hander rung up right-hander Michael Mahtook looking on a slider located on the outside edge of the strike zone, and then he punched out switch-hitter Andrew Romine on three pitches to quell the threat.
"He's been really consistent all year, except for yesterday," Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Pazos, who relinquished a run on a balk and a wild pitch in less than one-third of an inning on Sunday against the Rangers. "Talking to him before the game, Detroit is predominantly right-handed hitters and [he said], 'Just give me the ball I don't call who's out there.'"
Just not enough: The Tigers loaded the bases with no outs in the third after a leadoff walk from Romine followed by a single from Jose Iglesias and a walk from Kinsler. But Detroit could only cash in one run after Alex Avila grounded into a 3-6-1 double play, scoring Romine, and Jose Cabrera flied out to right field.
"That's kind of been the theme the past few days," Avila said. "We've been getting guys on base, just haven't been able to get that hit to score more than two. Eventually it'll happen. We'll be able to run into someone that ends up making a mistake or we're able to get a jam shot or bloop single or something in there with guys on base and put more runs on the board. But right now, we haven't."
"Sometimes you have to tip your cap, and other times you get really [ticked] off. I'm kind of right in between there, super-frustrated." -- Wilson on Zunino's home run and his recent struggles
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Zunino entered Monday averaging an MLB-best 101.7 mph exit velocity in June with runners on base, according to Statcast™. His home runs, both with Jarrod Dyson on base, had exit velocities of 111.3 and 106.7 mph.
Tigers:Jordan Zimmermann (5-5, 5.35) will try to carry forward the momentum he has built from his last two starts when he takes the mound for the second game of the series Tuesday at 10:10 p.m. ET. Zimmermann tossed eight innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts in his last start, but he gave up a season-high 11 hits against the Mariners when they visited Detroit in April.
Mariners: Ariel Miranda (6-3, 4.17 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday night for Seattle, hoping to bounce back from a rough outing at Minnesota on June 15 in which he allowed six runs on 10 hits and lasted only four innings in a 6-2 loss to the Twins. He was undefeated in his last five decisions before that. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PT.
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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.
Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.