DETROIT -- Five years after Oregon State's Matthew Boyd outpitched Gonzaga's Marco Gonzales in the collegiate Palm Springs Tournament, the Tigers' left-hander did it again, this time in the big leagues. Boyd's six-plus quality innings and Jose Iglesias' two-run homer lifted Detroit to a 4-3 win over the Mariners to
DETROIT -- Five years after Oregon State's Matthew Boyd outpitched Gonzaga's Marco Gonzales in the collegiate Palm Springs Tournament, the Tigers' left-hander did it again, this time in the big leagues. Boyd's six-plus quality innings and Jose Iglesias' two-run homer lifted Detroit to a 4-3 win over the Mariners to start Saturday's doubleheader at Comerica Park.
Boyd, lacking run support in several starts this season, was ready for a similar battle Saturday, retiring Seattle's first eight batters in order and holding the M's to one hit through four scoreless innings. Dee Gordon's fifth-inning sacrifice fly finally put Seattle on the board.
"He's got good stuff and he knows how to use it," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's a great hitting team."
By contrast, the Tigers squandered early chances against Gonzales, the son of former Tigers Draft pick and longtime Triple-A Toledo lefty Frank Gonzales. Detroit churned out five singles through its first 10 batters, but didn't capitalize until Grayson Greiner's first RBI single plated John Hicks in the fourth.
"We had some big moments early in the game," Gardenhire said. "I think we'll get better in those situations as we go along. You have to slow things down."
A three-run, two-out rally in the fifth proved the difference, ignited by JaCoby Jones' double off Kyle Seager's leg at third base. Jones scored on Greiner's second RBI single, challenging Mitch Haniger's arm in right field with third-base coach Dave Clark waving him home and barely beating catcher Mike Zunino's tag.
The safe call extended the inning for Iglesias, who worked Gonzales to a full count before hitting his second home run of the season.
Boyd (2-3) yielded three runs on three hits over six-plus innings, striking out six. Buck Farmer and Joe Jimenez retired six consecutive batters in the seventh and eighth before Shane Greene picked up his eighth save.
"They put some good swings on the ball today," Boyd said. "Grayson called a great game and swung the bat well. I'm so happy for him. He really swung it well and swung in some big situations. That was a big difference in the game."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Machado plays the bounce: Though Jimenez retired the Mariners in order in the eighth, he picked up some help from second baseman Dixon Machado, who reacted quickly as Nelson Cruz's grounder took a high hop off the second-base bag. Machado reached up and behind him to glove the ball and record the out, keeping the tying run off base and leaving Haniger to lead off the ninth.
Gonzales' father, Frank, pitched parts of four seasons at Triple-A Toledo but was never called up to Detroit. According to research from John Wagner of the Toledo Blade, the elder Gonzales holds the record for most innings with the Mud Hens since 1987 (the first year of their current Detroit affiliation) without ever pitching for the Tigers at 376 1/3 from 1992-95.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Though the save belonged to Greene, Jones arguably deserved a share with a sliding catch in shallow center field to rob Ryon Healy for the second out of the ninth inning. Statcast™ gave Healy's liner a 63-percent hit probability, but Jones charged in for the play, not only recording the out but keeping Seager at first base. The latter became critical once Zunino followed with a single that moved Seager to third.
HE SAID IT
"No comment." -- Gardenhire, on whether he expected the Mariners to challenge the safe call on Jones' slide into home plate on Greiner's single
Blaine Hardy (0-0, 2.70) gets his first Major League start, stepping in for injured Jordan Zimmermann for Sunday's series finale against the Mariners as the Tigers try to spoil James Paxton's encore to his no-hitter from earlier in the week. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.