The last time the Detroit Tigers had a nine-game winning streak, they won the World Series.
The reigning American League champions hope to give history a chance to repeat itself Wednesday when they continue a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park.
Detroit (20-11) pushed its season-high win streak to eight games with Tuesday’s 9-7 victory over Seattle, tying San Francisco for the longest skein this season. The Tigers, though, have not had a nine-game winning streak since May 14-24, 1984, the second of two nine-game runs that propelled them to a 35-5 start during their World Series championship-winning season.
“I don’t worry about winning streaks,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “They’re nice, obviously, but as long as we pitch and play - whatever happens, happens.”
The Tigers turned in another strong performance at the plate on Tuesday, totaling 14 hits one game after pounding out a season-high 17 in a win over Kansas City. Center fielder Omar Infante went 3-for-3 with a career-high four RBIs, while third baseman Brandon Inge was 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
Inge is 10-for-28 (.357) during the winning streak, raising his average 64 points to .186.
Detroit hopes its offense continues to produce for Nate Robertson (3-1, 2.48 ERA). The left-hander is coming off a win over Baltimore last Wednesday, when he allowed two runs and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 3-2 victory.
It was Robertson’s first victory since April 10, when he also defeated the Orioles.
Robertson has enjoyed success against the Mariners (14-14), going 4-2 with a 2.34 ERA in six lifetime starts. In his last appearance against them, he limited Seattle to one run and eight hits over seven innings in a 6-2 victory on Sept. 4. Two of his wins against Seattle have come at Comerica Park, where Robertson is 2-0 with a 3.16 ERA this season.
No current Tigers batter has ever faced Cha Seung Baek (0-0, 7.53), who will take the ball for Seattle. The right-hander, also making his first career appearance against Detroit, looks to bounce back from his last outing. Baek was tagged for seven runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings of the Mariners’ 15-11 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday.
“It looked like he overthrew again,” manager Mike Hargrove said on the Mariners’ official Web site. “You could tell from the look on his face that he got a little too excited and got ‘under’ a lot of pitches, which is not like him.”
Seattle fell to 2-4 on its eight-game road trip, which concludes Thursday. The Mariners will begin a nine-game homestand Friday against the Yankees.
Despite homering Tuesday, Richie Sexson is still batting just .152, and has struck out 24 times in 99 at-bats. The Mariners first baseman, though, is 4-for-11 (.364) with a homer lifetime against Robertson.
Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs on Tuesday, is 14-for-30 (.467) during an eight-game hitting streak against the Tigers.