Mariners 4, Tigers 3

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SEATTLE (AP)—Freddy Garcia had every reason to lose his poise. He didn’t.

Despite giving up two home runs and hitting a batter with the bases loaded, Garcia won for the first time since April 6, pitching the Seattle Mariners past the Detroit Tigers 4-3 Sunday.

“Today his demeanor out there was outstanding,” manager Bob Melvin said of Garcia, who has had trouble in the past controlling his emotions on the mound.

“That goes a long way a lot times because the other team knows that he’s in control of his emotions and he’s of everything out there,” Melvin said. “That’s something he’s been working on all spring and all season.”

The loss dropped the Tigers to 3-20, extending the worst start in team history.

“We’re still not swinging the bats well,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said.

Seattle wrapped up a 5-1 homestand and headed to Yankee Stadium to play New York in a three-game series between division leaders that starts Tuesday night.

The Mariners were limited to five hits in the series finale. They had 14 runs and 25 hits in taking two out of three from the Tigers.

“I’ll tell you what, these guys pitched pretty good against us,” Seattle’s Bret Boone said. “All three days.”

The Mariners must beat also-rans such as the Tigers this season if they’re going to make it back to the playoffs after missing them last season, Boone said.

“It’s a young team with not that much experience,” Boone said of the Tigers. “That’s the thing. When a team like that is coming in and scuffling, you’ve got to take advantage. You’ve got to win these games.”

Garcia (2-3) had been winless in three starts. But the Mariners’ ace limited Detroit to four hits, including home runs by Bobby Higginson and Dmitri Young, in seven innings. He struck out six.

Garcia beat the Tigers for the first time since Aug. 24, 1999, ending a three-game losing streak to Detroit.

Garcia said pitching success was 100 percent mental as far as he was concerned. He won 18 games for Seattle in 2001 and 16 last season.

“You have to concentrate on what you’re doing,” Garcia said.

Dan Wilson, Seattle’s catcher, said Garcia, 26, settled down after giving up both of his homers.

“The key there was they were solo shots and offensively it wasn’t devastating,” Wilson said.

Arthur Rhodes pitched the eighth and got one batter out in the ninth before Jeff Nelson came in to get the final two outs and his second save in four opportunities. Mariners closer Kazuhiro Sasaki is on the disabled list with a bad back.

Young homered in the second and Higginson homered in the third. The Tigers added a run in the sixth when Garcia hit Dean Palmer in the right leg on a 1-2 pitch with the bases loaded to force in Omar Infante.

Garcia threw up his arms in disgust after hitting Palmer. But he then got the next batter, Eric Munson, to ground out to end the inning.

“I walked around the mound and I thought, ‘What do I want to do now?”’ he said.

The Mariners got a run in the second on Carlos Guillen’s RBI infield out.

In the third, Seattle scored three runs on four hits. Ichiro Suzuki had an RBI single and later scored on catcher Matt Walbeck’s wild throw to second on a steal attempt.

Bret Boone’s single put the Mariners ahead 4-2 against Adam Bernero (0-4).

Bernero pitched seven innings and allowed four runs on five hits.

“Today we had a chance to win a ballgame, but I gave it up,” Bernero said. “It’s doing the little things. When we get the lead, it’s maintaining the lead.”

The Tigers pitchers know they’re not going to have a lot of runs to work with this season.

“We’re not going to hit eight home runs or anything,” Bernero said

Notes

The Mariners are 6-1 in one-run games, while the Tigers are 1-5. The crowd of 39,678 was the largest of the Mariners’ homestand. … Garcia has allowed seven homers in six starts this season. … Suzuki and Randy Winn eachstole their fifth bases in five attempts.

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