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Tigers, Iglesias avoid bad breaks against Mariners

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- Jose Iglesias saw his postseason life flash before him. When Iglesias viewed the X-rays of his aching left hand, the pain in his gut went away.

Iglesias, the Detroit Tigers' prized rookie shortstop, was hit by a pitch on Thursday but didn't suffer a broken bone. His teammates also averted disaster, rallying for a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park.

Iglesias was struck on the top of the hand by a Tom Wilhelmsen pitch and staggered away from the plate toward the third-base line. He was quickly escorted to the trainers' room, but the X-rays were negative. It was officially diagnosed as a contusion and he's listed as day to day.

"I was concerned. I don't want my hand broken right here because I can miss everything," said Iglesias, who had his right hand broken in 2010. "I got lucky. It's a big contusion, it feels bad, it's painful, but the good thing is it's not broken."

Iglesias has dazzled the Tigers with his glove while maintaining his batting average above .300 since he was acquired from Boston on July 30 in a blockbuster, three-team trade. Losing him would have been a huge defensive blow in their drive to a second consecutive World Series berth.

"We need him," Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said. "His glove is unbelievable. When you get hit in the hand, you always worry because you've got so many little bones there and just a small fracture can put you out. We're glad we got some good news that nothing's broken, nothing's fractured."

Detroit, which scored twice in the seventh inning to take the lead, reduced its magic number to clinch the American League Central to four.

Victor Martinez drove in the go-ahead run with the second of his two run-scoring doubles. Prince Fielder had three hits, scored twice and drove in a run, and Hunter homered and also scored twice for Detroit.

Doug Fister (13-9) got the win while striking out 10 in 7 2/3 innings and giving up four runs against his former team. The strikeout total was his second highest this season. He had 12 against Pittsburgh on May 30. Joaquin Benoit posted his 22nd save.

Dustin Ackley blasted a three-run homer for Seattle, which lost three of the four games in the series.

"We gave them everything they could handle here in these four days," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We're not looking for moral victories, but I'm very appreciative of the way these guys are fighting and stepping up to these teams at this time of the year."

Fielder scored from first on Martinez's double into the left-field corner to put Detroit in front. Home plate umpire Ron Kulpa ruled that Fielder eluded the tag of catcher Mike Zunino after Carlos Triunfel's relay throw, but Wedge said the replay told a different story.

"I guess on the replay (the tag was made). It was a bang-bang out there, hard to tell," Wedge said. "Mike did a nice job because with the way the throw came in and the way the slide went, he had to work hard to get him."

Fielder had just knocked in the tying run with an RBI single off reliever Charlie Furbush (2-6).

Ackley's fourth homer of the season gave Seattle a 4-3 advantage in the fifth. He ripped a 2-0 offering from Fister into the right-field stands.

The Tigers scored two first inning-runs on Hunter's 17th homer and Martinez's RBI double. Omar Infante's bases-loaded walk made it 3-1 in the third. Raul Ibanez's RBI single scored the Mariners' first run.

NOTES: Seattle ace Felix Hernandez (left oblique strain) threw a 58-pitch bullpen session and pronounced himself ready to return to the rotation. Hernandez, who also threw a bullpen session on Monday, will likely make his next start against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. He has not pitched since Sept. 2, when he gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings at Kansas City. ... Mariners SS Brad Miller, who missed the entire four-game series with a hamstring injury, is showing improvement and could be available sometime this weekend. "He's coming along a little bit quicker than we thought," Wedge said. "He won't be ready to get back in there (Friday), but we'll probably push him a little bit more." ... Martinez made his third start at catcher this season. Martinez, who missed last season after undergoing knee surgery, could get another start behind the plate in Miami next weekend, manager Jim Leyland said. ... Tigers pitchers had 12 strikeouts, giving them 1,323 for the season. That broke the season franchise record of 1,318 strikeouts set last year.
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