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Seager clubs Tigers as M's take 2 of 3

The Mariners needed a break, and the Detroit Tigers obliged. Seattle had dropped eight of their last nine games coming into Detroit, some by rather irritating fashion, and three against the worst team in the Majors was a welcome turn of events. It wasn't a sweep, as it was when the Tigers visited the Northwest, but the M's will gladly take two wins out of three at this point of the lost 2019 campaign.

Kyle Seager was the star of the series, as he continued his hot hitting. In the three games, the Seattle third baseman went 6-for-12 with a double, three homers (one fielder-aided, but it counts), and nine RBI. In his last 20 games, Seager has posted a line of .375/.457/.833 including eight home runs, doubles to the opposite field, and a bunt single. The man is cruising.

Seager's three home runs all came in Tuesday's series opener, an 11-6 Seattle win that looked for a while like it might go the other way. Yusei Kikuchi was not sharp and lasted just 313 innings, giving up five Tiger runs on nine hits including two longballs (Kikuchi now leads the American League in home runs allowed with 31, not exactly something to boast about back home in Tokyo), and he departed with the M's down 5-3. It wold go to 6-3 Detroit before the Mariners erupted for a six-spot in the sixth inning. Seager and Tom Murphy each hit their second homers of the night and Tim Lopes and Mallex Smith collected RBI doubles. The Seattle relief corps was solid, with the win going to Zac Grotz, a minor-league free-agent signee that had been doing well at Double-A Arkansas (4-4, 2.51 ERA) before his callup to the bigs early this month, with Sam Tuivailala, Matt Wisler, Matt Magill, and Erik Swanson each following with a scoreless frame. It was interesting to see manager Scott Servais try Swanson in the ninth-inning role—as we've noted before, if Swanson is to have a future in baseball it's likely as a short reliever; his spectacular failures as a starter seem to result from a lack of variety in his repertoire and the ability of the average Major League hitter to adapt after he sees Swanson once, but his high-octane fastballs are good for an inning or so. Could he have a career as a closer down the road? We shall see.

Wednesday night's disappointing 3-2 loss wasted another quality start from Marco Gonzales, still trying to get his elusive 13th victory. Marco was outdueled by veteran Edwin Jackson, who was making his second start for Detroit after beginning the year as a Toronto Blue Jay. J.P. Crawford and Daniel Vogelbach each hit solo homers to account for Seattle's runs, and the M's didn't have much in the way of opportunities otherwise despite loading the bases with two out in the sixth. They continued to strike out at a very unhealthy pace (nine for the game) as well.

Tommy Milone was credited with the win on Thursday afternoon, but no one Mariner carried the day. Every batter save Vogelbach and Keon Broxton had at least one hit, with Smith and Austin Nola each collecting three, and four relievers plus a pointless "opener" each throwing a scoreless inning in the 7-2 victory. The strikeout problem persisted, however—the M's racked up 11 Ks on the day, including their first four batters; their first seven outs were all strikeouts. Broxton K'd three times, bringing his total since joining the Mariners to 19 in just 34 plate appearances (he now has 90 for the year in total, for a Zunino-like strikeout percentage of 45.3%).

Will the fun continue now that the M's are done with the Tigers for the season? Well, next up is a trip north of the border to face the Toronto Blue Jays, who have a record just 1½ games better than Seattle's at 22 under .500 (13 under .500 at home), so maybe yeah. Tune in and see.

Mariners vs. Tigers, by the numbers

  • Total runs scored: 31 (SEA 20, DET 11)
  • Home runs hit: 11 (SEA 8, DET 3)
  • Bases stolen/attempts: 5/7 (SEA 4 - Smith 3, Gordon; DET 1)
  • Errors committed: 4 (SEA 2 - Crawford, Vogelbach; DET 2)
  • Quality starts: 1 (SEA 1 - Gonzales)
  • Pitching changes: 23 (SEA 12, DET 11)
  • Starters ERA (includes “openers”): 7.01 (SEA 5.23, DET 7.04)
  • Bullpen ERA (includes “headliners”): 3.62 (SEA 1.72, DET 6.17)
  • Runners left on base: 44 (SEA 21, DET 23)
  • Increase in Kyle Seager's season batting average: 14 points

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