Mariners 5, Tigers 4, 10 innings

Preview | Box Score | Recap

DETROIT (AP)—The Detroit Tigers’ clubhouse was somber and filled with awkward silence.

The Tigers didn’t drop just another game, they lost a teammate.

Kenji Johjima’s RBI single in the 10th inning put the Seattle Mariners ahead and J.J. Putz held the lead in a 5-4 win over the slumping Tigers on Wednesday.

After the game, Detroit designated hitter Dmitri Young was cut in a move that seem to stun him and definitely shocked his teammates.

“It’s a business, I guess,” said first baseman Sean Casey, whose locker was next to Young’s. “Dmitri is a great guy and a great player. Any time you lose a player like that. … I really don’t know what to say to tell you the truth.”

If the Tigers don’t turn it around quickly, the truth could include the loss of their once-huge lead in the AL Central.

Detroit still has the best record in the AL but has lost 19 of 28 games. What had been a 10-game lead in the AL Central a month ago has shrunk to four games—a cushion Detroit could lose this weekend.

The Tigers begin a four-game series Thursday night against the second-place Minnesota Twins, who are just ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the division and the wild-card race.

“Do we have pressure on us? Yeah, we do,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “But in my opinion, we have less pressure than Minnesota, the White Sox and some of the teams that were supposed to win. We were supposed to get better.”

Young appeared to be getting better after leaving the team in May—hitting .169—to get help at a substance-abuse center in California. Since being activated from the disabled list July 21, Young was hitting .292 with seven homers and 19 RBIs. His batting average was .250 in 48 games this season, his fifth in Detroit.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski insisted the move was “strictly performance related.”

Young’s bags were packed for the upcoming series at Minnesota when he returned from a postgame shower.

He was in no mood to talk in the clubhouse, where he was warmly embraced by teammates, and when approached by a reporter on his way up a ramp to exit Comerica Park he didn’t sound like he would be interested in commenting later.

“I’m not going to want to talk about it,” Young said, wearing sunglasses, after going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

After Johjima’s bloop single, Joel Zumaya (6-3) prevented further damage by getting out of a bases-loaded jam with two strikeouts and a flyout.

Jon Huber (1-0) struck out one and gave an intentional walk in the ninth inning, and Putz pitched the 10th for his 31st save in 36 chances. Magglio Ordonez got a one-out single and Craig Monroe drew a walk, but Casey hit into a game-ending double play.

“It’s frustrating,” Casey said.

Detroit erased a three-run deficit in the eighth inning before the game was delayed 3 hours, 9 minutes by rain and lightning. Brandon Inge led off the inning with a solo homer and Monroe hit a two-out, two-run double over Ichiro Suzuki, who slipped on the wet grass in center, to make it 4-all.

Suzuki said he would’ve made the play if the conditions were better.

“I don’t know if it would’ve been easy, but I would’ve had it,” he said through an interpreter.

Seattle went ahead 4-1 in the sixth on Raul Ibanez’s two-run double and Eduardo Perez’s RBI groundout, the second run the designated hitter drove in.

Seattle has won nine of 13, but is stuck in last place in the AL West.

“You’ve got to do your best to finish the season strong,” Ibanez said. “When I was in Kansas City, Carlos Beltran used to always say you can’t rewind the past.”

Gil Meche gave up two runs—both on solo homers—five hits and three walks over seven-plus innings.

After Inge led off the eighth with his 23rd homer, Meche was replaced by George Sherrill, who was chased after giving up two singles without getting an out.

Monroe’s double was off Sean Green, who left the game with a straight muscle on his right side, and Eric O’Flaherty threw a couple warmup tosses on the mound when the game was delayed.

Detroit’s Kenny Rogers gave up four runs and eight hits over seven innings. Rogers had won his previous four starts, giving up just three runs combined in those games.

Richie Sexson doubled and scored on Perez’s single in the second inning and Vance Wilson’s homer in the third made it 1-all.

Notes

Young began the year hitting .291 with 147 home runs and 576 RBIs with Detroit, Cincinnati and St. Louis. … Detroit SS Carlos Guillen (hamstring) might be ready to play Friday at Minnesota. … Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said Joel Pineiro, who worked 3 2-3 innings of perfect relief in Tuesday’s win, will not be considered for a spot in the rotation. … The Tigers activated LHP Mike Maroth on Wednesday, more than three months after his last start and surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. Maroth is expected to be used as a reliever after going 5-2 as a starter early in the season. RHP Chris Spurling was designated for assignment to make room for Maroth on Detroit’s 40-man roster. … Detroit drew 23,000-plus fans the past two games, the smallest crowds at Comerica Park since 20,935 came to the June 13 game against Tampa Bay.

Related Articles

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Sep 6