SEATTLE, Wash. – The Mariners broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth defeating the Tigers 2-1 Wednesday night and preserving a well-deserved win for Jason Vargas.
Vargas found himself in another early pitching duel, this one with Drew Smyly. Vargas didn't allow a runner to reach second base for the first five innings, giving up two hits in that stretch.
Ichiro got the Mariners' first hit of the day with a one-out single in the fourth. After a Jesus Montero strikeout, Ichiro moved into scoring position with a stolen base. Kyle Seager drove Ichiro in with a double to the right field wall that was about a foot away from bringing around Seager too giving Seattle the first lead of the game 1-0.
For the first time in the game Vargas found himself in a bit of a jam giving up a leadoff double to Gerald Laird in the sixth. Danny Worth went down in the count 1-2 trying to bunt over Laird, but salvaged the at-bat with a single to right. Austin Jackson hit a deep fly out to center to bring in Laird and tie the game. Brennan Boesch followed up with a single to left, but Miguel Cabrera grounded into an inning ending double play.
Michael Saunders pinch hit for Casper Wells in the eighth and hit a double down the left field line to start the inning and moved over to third on a Chone Figgins sac-bunt. Detroit brought in reliever Duane Below for Luke Putkonen. John Jaso lined the ball over the shortstop's head to bring in the go-ahead run for Seattle. Jaso, who also hit in the go-ahead run in Monday's win over the Tigers, tried to stretch the play into a double but was unable to beat the throw. Brendan Ryan grounded out to third as the Mariners entered the ninth with a 2-1 lead.
Brandon League came on for Vargas to face the top of the order. After throwing three straight balls to Austin Jackson, League made the count full, but threw a fourth ball on the sixth pitch to put Jackson on. Boesch hit a fast liner to Ryan who dropped it, but recovered quickly and turned it for a double play. Cabrera flew out to center to seal the win and give League the save.
Vargas had an excellent outing with eight innings pitched allowing one run on five hits with six strikeouts. It looked as if he would get another no-decision up until the run scored in the bottom of the eighth, putting him in line for the win.
Smyly went six innings allowing one run on two hits with five strikeouts to get the no-decision. Putkonen gave up the one hit in the eighth and Below couldn't save him, giving up the Jaso hit to bring in Saunders.
After winning both series 2-1 in their six-game home stand, the Mariners will head east for a ten-game road trip starting with a three-game series against the New York Yankees. Game one of the series is set to start Friday at 4:05 PT.