SEATTLE -- Justin Verlander can be lights-out when the lights are shining brightest, but he's even better in the daylight. So it came as little surprise that the Detroit Tigers ace was making the most of his fourth consecutive daytime start this season on Thursday.
Only after an afternoon drizzle forced the Safeco Field roof to be closed in the middle of the sixth inning did the Seattle Mariners finally get to Verlander. Three two-out hits in the bottom of the seventh were enough for the Mariners to beat Verlander and the Tigers 2-0.
Pinch-hitter Kyle Seager drove in the first run of the game with a two-out double off Verlander in the seventh, then came around to score an insurance run on an Endy Chavez single. Verlander came out of the game after that inning, having allowed two runs and nine hits while striking out 12 in a 126-pitch performance.
Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma, who outdueled fellow Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish in his last outing, stood up to another huge test by matching Verlander for five innings of scoreless baseball. Iwakuma allowed three hits while throwing 70 pitches before giving way to the Seattle bullpen in the sixth.
The Tigers managed just five hits in the game. The American League's best offensive team had 12 hits, two runs, a .150 batting average and 26 strikeouts in the final two games of the series. Detroit didn't score an earned run off the Seattle starter in either game.
Verlander did his part through the first two outs of the seventh. He became the second starter in a row to strike out 12 Mariners, joining teammate Max Scherzer. In a span of two games, Seattle hitters have struck out 31 times.
Verlander's velocity was peaking in the seventh when he was clocked at 97 mph, but the Seattle bats were able to catch up to him.
After Verlander struck out the first two batters of that inning, the Mariners put together three consecutive hits to score the game's first runs.
Verlander was just what the Tigers needed after using seven relievers in the previous night's 14-inning win, but his 126 pitches were a season high.
In four starts this season, all in the day, Verlander is now 2-2 with a 2.13 ERA. In his career, Verlander is 49-18 with a 2.84 ERA in day games.
Iwakuma left the game with the score tied 0-0 in the sixth. He now has a 1.69 ERA this season.
Carter Capps (1-1) pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth for the Mariners before Tom Wilhelmsen came on to post his sixth save of the season. Wilhelmsen, who pitched two innings the previous night, worked a scoreless ninth to remain perfect in save opportunities this season.
Chavez helped Wilhelmsen's cause with a nifty diving catch in center field for the second out of the ninth.
NOTES: In the final two games of the series, the Tigers and Mariners combined for five runs, 32 hits and 57 strikeouts. ... Veteran outfielder Torii Hunter got the day off for Detroit. Don Kelly took his spot in right field, and leftfielder Andy Dirks moved up to Hunter's No. 2 slot in the batting order. ... Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak played in his 17th consecutive game. He's the only Seattle player who has yet to sit out a game this season. ... A light drizzle in Seattle forced the Mariners to close the roof between the top and bottom of the sixth inning.