Seattle has struggled this season, entering the series with consecutive losses and dropping seven of its last eight games.
However, the Mariners picked up their eighth straight victory over Detroit, and 11th in the last 12 meetings, with a 3-1 win in 10 innings to open the series Friday.
“We really needed this one,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. “This is how we win games—good pitching and good defense and a few big hits.”
There were two big hits Friday from players who have enjoyed success against the Tigers in their career.
Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki started the game with the 10th leadoff homer of his career—his first lead off home run since Sept. 12, 2003—and his third homer in 15 at-bats against Detroit right-hander Jason Johnson. It was the Mariners’ first leadoff homer on the road since Suzuki did it against the Tigers last May 17.
Seattle newcomer Raul Ibanez also continued his success against the Tigers with a two-run homer—his fifth of the season—in the 10th inning Friday for the victory. It was his 11th career homer against Detroit, his most against any team. With the Royals last season, he hit .361 (22-for-61) with four home runs and 15 RBIs against the Tigers.
“I can’t explain it—it doesn’t even feel like I’ve had that kind of luck against them,” said the left fielder, who is just 3-for-21 with three RBIs in his last five games and 1-for-5 on Friday. “Look at tonight—I hadn’t done a thing until I finally got the barrel of the bat on that last pitch.”
“That’s probably why Seattle picked him up,” Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. “I was talking to Bob Melvin today and they’ve struggled offensively this year. Raul came up with a big hit today.”
Detroit has lost four of five and is 3-4 on its nine-game homestand. The Tigers managed just four hits Friday, and have yet to win this season when they score four runs or fewer.
Detroit, which lost an AL-worst 119 games last season, finished the month 12-11 for its first winning record in April since 1993.