A series against Seattle appears to be just what Detroit needed to shake its offensive slump.
The Tigers will be trying for their first three-game home sweep of the Mariners in nearly 13 years on Thursday when the teams meet at Comerica Park.
Detroit (19-27) entered this series on the heels of a 1-5 road trip in which it managed only 12 runs against Kansas City and Arizona. However, the Tigers have pounded out 21 runs and 31 hits in their first two games against the Mariners (18-29), including Wednesday’s 9-4 victory.
Marcus Thames went 2-for-3 with a grand slam and two runs for Detroit, which got a hit from everyone in the starting lineup and scored seven runs in the third inning.
“If you have good at-bats, everything else will be all right,” Thames said.
The Tigers last swept a three-game series against the Mariners April 21-23, 2006, in Seattle. They have not swept a three-game home series against them since July 3-5, 1995.
“Tonight we were very fortunate,” manager Jim Leyland said. “We’ve had games when teams have done that to us.”
Along with the big win, Detroit also got some good news on Wednesday. Dontrelle Willis, who had been on the disabled list with a hyperextended right knee since April 13, was recalled from his minor league rehab assignment.
Leyland said Willis, acquired with slugger Miguel Cabrera in an offseason deal with Florida, will work as a reliever for a while before returning to the rotation. Willis was available on Wednesday, but did not pitch.
Richie Sexson and Yuniesky Betancourt hit solo homers for the Mariners, who are an AL-worst 7-16 on the road. They took two of three at home from San Diego over the weekend before opening a six-game road trip that includes three games at Yankee Stadium.
Seattle has yielded 30 runs in its last five road games.
“A little bit of everything happened to us tonight,” manager John McLaren said. “We just had a bad ballgame again.”
Miguel Batista (3-5, 6.11 ERA) will try to help Seattle bounce back in the series finale.
Batista gave up six runs—including three in the first—in 5 1-3 innings of Friday’s 6-4 loss to San Diego. He has yielded 11 first-inning runs—but none on the road, where he is 1-2 despite a 3.16 ERA.
“It took him a while to get his rhythm going; his location was not very good the first couple innings at all,” McLaren told the Mariners’ official team Web site.
Batista is 1-3 with a 4.54 ERA in nine career appearances, including five starts, against the Tigers.
He will face Jeremy Bonderman (2-4, 4.76), who is trying for his first win at home this season. Bonderman is 0-3 with a 6.26 ERA in five starts at Comerica.
Bonderman gave up three runs in six innings without getting a decision in Tigers’ 4-3 loss in Arizona on Friday, and is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA over his last three starts. He is 4-3 with a 5.01 ERA in eight career starts against the Mariners.