One night after Detroit's ace helped his team end its losing streak to the Seattle Mariners, rookie Drew Smyly hopes to lead the Tigers to a series victory.
The left-hander looks to continue the strong start to his career Wednesday night when the Tigers conclude their three-game set at Safeco Field.
Justin Verlander wasn't totally sharp while allowing three runs in six innings Tuesday, but he won his 12th straight road decision as Detroit (15-14) evened the series with a 6-4 victory. The win snapped a five-game skid to Seattle, which won the previous four in 2012.
Verlander got plenty of support early as the Tigers scored five runs over the first two innings. Andy Dirks had two hits with three RBIs and Prince Fielder added his fifth homer in the seventh to put Detroit in position to win two in a row for the first time since a four-game run April 15-18.
Despite the early offense, manager Jim Leyland still is not happy with his team's production. The Tigers have scored six or more runs seven times in 29 games.
"We're not going to hit if we swing at the kind of pitches we swung at tonight after the third or fourth inning," said Leyland, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the third.
Fielder and Dirks, however, are a combined 16 for 31 (.516) with three home runs and eight RBIs in the last four games.
Smyly (1-0, 1.61 ERA), who began the season at Triple-A Toledo, has been a pleasant surprise while allowing five earned runs and striking out 29 in 28 innings of his first five career starts. He allowed two runs and fanned seven for a third straight start over six innings while not factoring in Friday's 5-4 win over Chicago.
"Of course you want to get a win, but as long as the team wins there's not much you can do about it," Smyly told the Tigers' official website. "All you can do is just go out and pitch and keep your team in the game and hope for a win or a no-decision. Just stay away from the losses."
He did not face the Mariners when they swept the Tigers at Comerica Park last month.
Seattle (14-18), which had won three in a row, rallied for three runs in the fourth inning but fell short after leaving the bases loaded in the ninth Tuesday.
"They're going to get better, and they are getting better," manager Eric Wedge told the Mariners' official website about his club. "It never happens on your timetable or my timetable, but it is going to happen."
Third baseman Kyle Seager, 2 for 4 with two RBIs on Tuesday, has batted .348 with 13 RBIs in his last 13 games.
Scheduled Mariners starter Jason Vargas (3-2, 3.09) has allowed two runs and eight hits over 13 1-3 innings while going 1-0 in two home outings. The left-hander gave up a run with four hits in 6 1-3 innings Friday against visiting Minnesota, but Seattle's bullpen failed to hold a lead en route to a 3-2 loss.
Vargas allowed four runs in six innings and still earned the win in a 7-4 victory at Detroit on April 24 to improve to 1-1 with a 5.91 ERA in four starts against the Tigers. He's posted a 3.27 ERA while not factoring in the decision in either of his home starts versus Detroit.
- Seattle Mariners