DETROIT (AP)—Raul Ibanez doesn’t know why he’s had so much success against the Tigers.
Ibanez hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning to give the Seattle Mariners a 3-1 victory over the Tigers on Friday night. It was his 11th career home run against Detroit, three more than he has hit against any other team.
“I can’t explain it—it doesn’t even feel like I’ve had that kind of luck against them,” he said. “Look at tonight—I hadn’t done a thing until I finally got the barrel of the bat on that last pitch.”
“It seems like every homer that Raul hits is a big one for us,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s done it a lot this year, that’s for sure.”
Tigers manager Alan Trammell saw plenty of Ibanez last season, when he hit .361 against Detroit as a member of the Royals.
That’s probably why Seattle picked him up,” he said. “I was talking to Bob Melvin today and they’ve struggled offensively this year. Raul came up with a big hit today.”
Seattle won for just the second time in nine games. Detroit has lost four of five, but finished the month 12-11 for its first winning record in April since 1993.
“We really needed this one,” Melvin said. “This is how we win games— good pitching and good defense and a few big hits.”
Seattle shortstop Rich Aurilia and Melvin were both ejected in the seventh inning after arguing a called third strike with home plate umpire Marvin Hudson.
“If it takes me getting tossed to win a game, I’m all for it,” Aurilia said. “I just didn’t think I did anything worth getting ejected, though. I thought the pitch was a ball and I tried to talk to him about it. Sometimes, you just can’t talk to the young umpires like you can the veterans.”
Tigers starter Jason Johnson, who has not won since opening day, allowed one run on four hits and two walks in 6 2-3 innings.
I’m getting back to where I was when I came out of spring training,” Johnson said. “It took me a few starts to get the blister a little bit calloused up. It’s feeling a lot better now and I’m able to pitch the way I know how.”
Freddy Garcia gave up one run on four hits and four walks in eight innings for Seattle. Garcia improved his ERA to 2.27, but he still does not have a win in five starts.
“We won the game, and that’s the important thing,” he said. “I’d like to get a win, but I was tired. If I try to get them to send me out for the ninth, maybe I give up a run and we lose the game. That’s not worth it.”
Ichiro Suzuki started the game with the 10th leadoff homer of his career, but that was the only run scored by either team until the sixth.
Seattle’s best chance came in the third when they had runners on the corners with two outs, but Ibanez’s long fly was caught by left-fielder Rondell White against the wall.
Detroit had two runners on in each of the first two innings. The first rally ended when Ivan Rodriguez grounded into a double play, and Eric Munson struck to end the second after Garcia had walked consecutive batters.
Seattle threatened in the seventh when Dan Wilson and Randy Winn, the first two batters after the double ejection, singled off Johnson. Jamie Walkerrelieved and got Suzuki to fly out to end the inning.
Suzuki’s homer was his third in 15 career at-bats against Johnson. It was also Seattle’s first leadoff homer on the road since he did it against the Tigers last May 17. … Carlos Pena is 0-for-15 in his career against Garcia, while White is 0-for-10. … Suzuki grounded into a ninth-inning double play—his third of the season, matching his total for all of 2003.