Tigers 6, Mariners 4
SEATTLE (AP)—The punchless Detroit Tigers are trying to keep negative thoughts out of their heads.
“It’s going to change. There’s no question,” first-year manager Alan Trammell said after Detroit won for only the third time in 22 games this season by beating the Seattle Mariners 6-4 Saturday night.
“It’s just a question of how good it’s going to get,” Trammell said. “But it has not been very good as everybody knows.”
Shane Halter homered and scored three times as the Tigers ended the Mariners’ five-game winning streak.
“Negative thoughts are going to come in your mind all the time,” winning pitcher Jamie Walker said. “You’ve just got to channel them and stay positive. The main thing is you can’t press.”
The Tigers tied season highs with six runs and 11 hits. Detroit has scored only 49 runs this year (2.2 per game), by far the fewest in the majors.
After getting shut out in their two previous games, the Tigers finally generated some offense.
“If we can score a few runs like that, then we don’t have to play a perfect ballgame,” Trammell said.
Craig Monroe went 3-for-3 with a double and a run scored for the Tigers, while Halter also had three hits.
Halter broke a streak of 22 scoreless innings by the Tigers when he led off the fourth with the team’s eighth home run of the season, a 418-foot shot to center. It was Halter’s second homer.
The Tigers scored a run in the seventh to go ahead 5-4. Halter and Carlos Pena singled to put runners at the corners before Dmitri Young hit a grounder to third baseman Mark McLemore, who threw to second to force Pena. But Pena slid and knocked Bret Boone’s legs out from under him, allowing Halter to score.
Seattle manager Bob Melvin ran onto the field and argued with second-base umpire Ted Barrett that Pena interfered with Boone.
“Boonie was looking to come home and he was standing there,” Trammell said. “From my view, it was a clean play. That was the winning run.”
Melvin saw it differently.
“I didn’t think he (Pena) was able to reach the bag,” Melvin said. “He was too far over. It looked like he was almost on the grass.”
Pena slid hard to break up the potential double play.
“As long as you can touch the base, which I did, you are within the legal limit,” he said. “In all honesty, my only focus was, ‘I’m going to take him out.”’
After the play, Pena got up and patted Boone on the back. Boone said nothing to Pena.
“He appreciates hard baseball I think,” Pena said.
Halter led off the ninth with a bunt single and went to second on catcher Ben Davis’ throwing error. One out later, he scored on a passed ball by Davis.
Matt Anderson got three outs for his third save, retiring McLemore on a fly ball with runners at second and third to end it. Seattle stranded 12 runners.
The Mariners had a chance to tie it in the seventh when Edgar Martinez singled and John Olerud doubled. But the slow-running Martinez, 40, who has had trouble with his legs, was held at third rather than risk going home.
The Mariners went ahead 4-3 with two runs on a single and three walks by rookie starter Gary Knotts in the fifth. Knotts walked Olerud with the bases loaded to tie the score before being taken out of the game, and pinch-hitter Willie Bloomquist followed with a sacrifice fly against Walker.
The Tigers went ahead with two runs in the fifth, when they got four hits for a 3-2 lead. Omar Infante tied the score at 2 with a run-scoring single and Bobby Higginson ended an 0-for-18 slump with an RBI single.
Davis hit a two-run homer in the third.
Walker (1-0) got the victory with 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief.
Ryan Franklin (1-2) started for Seattle and went 6 1-3 innings, giving up five runs—four earned—on nine hits.
Franklin, the first Mariners starting pitcher to lose since April 16, noted the Tigers broke their bats on three of their four hits in the fifth.
“I made good pitches on all the broken bats,” he said. “They just fell in or went down the line. You just hope you don’t see that very often.”
Knotts pitched 4 1-3 innings and allowed four runs on six hits and fourwalks.
Tigers rookie SS Infante, 21, made a sensational play in the third when he went almost all the way behind second base to get to Winn’s groundball, did a 360 and threw out Winn on one hop at first. … Franklin allowed his seventh homer of the season, most on the Mariners’ staff. … The Mariners have been outhomered 28-17 this season. … Davis’ second homer of the season was hisfirst since April 3.