Seattle finally figured out a way to slow down Detroit’s offense on Saturday.
Now, the Mariners will be trying to build on their first win of the season against the Tigers as the struggling teams wrap up a three-game series at Safeco Field on Sunday.
Seattle (21-35) was outscored 37-18 in losing all four of its meetings with Detroit (23-32) this season before Saturday’s 5-0 win. The Mariners gave Felix Hernandez some rare run support, and he held them to just two hits over seven innings.
Kenji Johjima also gave the Mariners some unconventional help on Saturday, stealing home on a botched squeeze play call.
“We finally scored (Hernandez) a few runs,” Seattle manager John McLaren said. “We’ve been looking for clean games and that’s what you call a clean game — a little defense, a little hitting and great pitching.”
The victory put the Mariners, who own the worst record in the AL, on the verge of a second straight series win at home after an 0-6 road trip that included a three-game sweep in Detroit May 20-22. Still, Seattle, which took two of three from Boston this week, has won just two of its last nine against the Tigers dating to last season.
Detroit, which spent the offseason assembling a lineup that was supposed to be one of the most imposing in baseball, was shut out for a major league-worst ninth time - three times its total from all of last year. The Tigers, who were held to two hits for just the second time in the last two seasons, have been shut out twice in their last five games.
The Tigers have dropped four of their last six, scoring just three runs in the losses.
“It kind of feels like everything that can go wrong is going wrong,” starter Justin Verlander told the Tigers’ official team Web site.
The Tigers are hoping that veteran starter Kenny Rogers can help them bounce back in the finale.
Rogers (4-4, 5.88 ERA) threw seven stellar innings in Detroit’s 12-inning, 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels Monday in his longest start of the season. It was an encouraging outing for the 43-year-old lefty, who had given up four or more runs in six of his previous eight starts.
“You can’t pitch any better than he pitched. He was much more aggressive. I thought he had good location, his ball sunk good and he kept the ball on the ground,” manager Jim Leyland said.
Rogers is 0-3 with a 4.82 ERA in his last three starts at Safeco Field after going 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA in his first four outings there. He won by giving up four runs in 5 1-3 innings in a 9-4 home victory against Seattle on May 21.
Seattle counters with Miguel Batista (3-6, 5.98), who is 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA over his last three starts. However, he went seven innings in his last start on Tuesday, allowing three runs in Seattle’s 4-3 home win over Boston.
Batista is 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA in 10 career appearances - six starts - against the Tigers. He lost his second straight start against them on May 22, allowing five runs in just three innings of a 9-2 defeat in Detroit.