SEATTLE -- The Mariners came back twice on Tuesday night, once in the late innings, and once in the really late innings, and beat the Tigers, 6-5, on a walk-off sac fly by Mike Zunino in the 15th.
"There's something about this team," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "They believe in each other. It's a fun group, they've got a lot of personality and we're playing well."
Seattle had fallen behind, 5-4, in the top of the frame when Tigers slugger Victor Martinez hit a leadoff home run off Friday's scheduled Mariners starter, Aríel Miranda, breaking a 4-4 tie that had held since the eighth, when Kyle Seager's three-run homer erased Detroit's 4-1 lead.
Facing Tigers closer Francisco Rodríguez in the 15th, Nelson Cruz drew a one-out walk, Adam Lind singled him to second and Seager singled home Cruz with another game-tying hit. Lind took third when Justin Upton bobbled the ball in left field.
That set the stage for Zunino, who hit a sky-high fly ball deep enough to drive in Lind and give Seattle its season-high fifth consecutive victory.
"We'll be fine," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "I've said it many times. There's no rearview mirror in baseball. These guys are veterans. They'll put it behind them."
Despite giving up a run in the 15th, Miranda got his first Major League win. Rodriguez fell to 1-3.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Seager ties it twice: With the Mariners still trailing, 4-1, in the sixth inning, Seager struck out with the bases loaded. He made up for it and then some with his game-tying homer in the eighth and his game-tying single in the 15th. More >
Tigers start early: A night after being shut out by the Mariners, the Tigers didn't waste much time reacquainting themselves with the scoreboard. Ian Kinsler led off the game with a double off Seattle starter Wade LeBlanc, José Iglesias followed with a single, Miguel Cabrera singled in Detroit's first run and Martinez made it four hits in a row with another RBI single. Just like that, it was 2-0 before LeBlanc even recorded an out.
Mariners' bullpen steps up: LeBlanc left the game after five innings having allowed four runs on 10 hits. Relievers Nick Vincent, Vidal Nuño, Edwin Díaz, Arquimedes Caminero, Drew Storen and Tom Wilhelmsen combined for nine scoreless innings.
"The 'pen's been great," Zunino said. "I think everyone's settled in. I think their roles are settling in for everybody and they're buying into it. Just to be so consistent from top to bottom there has been great."
Miggy and J.D. mash: The Tigers got home runs from two of their preeminent sluggers, with Cabrera leading off the third inning with a homer, his 26th of the season, and J.D. Martinez blasting a solo shot to right-center field to lead off the fifth, his 14th.
"Give them credit. They fought back against the back end of our bullpen ... and their hitters got the job done." -- Ausmus
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The 15-inning game set a new season high for both teams. Prior to Tuesday, the Tigers' longest game was 13 innings, which they reached on June 19 in Kansas City. The Mariners played a 13-inning game at Tampa Bay on June 15.
Tigers:Justin Verlander will try to keep his recent run of success going when he takes the mound for Detroit on Wednesday night in the series finale at Safeco Field. Verlander (12-6, 3.52 ERA) was the American League Pitcher of the Month for July after going 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA, and he won his fifth straight decision on Friday against the Mets. He is 10-8 with a 3.35 ERA in 19 career starts vs. the Mariners.
Mariners: The Mariners will turn to Félix Hernández, who will make his fifth start since returning from the 15-day disabled list (right calf strain) on July 20. The right-hander has a 5.26 ERA in his past four appearances, but he showed signs of his old dominating self in his last start. Hernandez allowed three runs in the first inning against the Angels on Friday, but he finished the game with seven scoreless innings and the win. First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. PT.
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