Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez both struck out 12 and baffled the opposition for eight innings Wednesday before Detroit (9-5) finally broke through in the 14th and hung on to win 2-1. Catcher Brayan Pena drove in the go-ahead run on a bases-loaded groundout, then held onto Prince Fielder 's relay throw and absorbed a home plate collision with Justin Smoak to record the game's final out.
The Tigers and Mariners' struggles at the plate weren't just against Scherzer and Hernandez. It was only the second time in major league history that both teams had more than 18 strikeouts, with Detroit fanning 21 times and Seattle 19."I'm not much for those kind of records. All I know we are 2-0 the last two nights and that's all that matters, that column with the Ws and Ls," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
The Tigers, who took Tuesday's series opener 6-2, have limited opponents to seven runs and a .176 average during a four-game winning streak. Detroit hasn't recorded a sweep at Safeco Field since April 21-23, 2006.
The Tigers have to like their chances of keeping things going behind Verlander (2-1, 1.96 ERA), who allowed three hits and struck out six over six innings of one-run ball Saturday in a 7-3 win at Oakland.
"He did what he normally does," Athletics manager Bob Melvin told MLB's official website. "He did throw a lot of behind-in-the-count offspeed pitches, which he can do. That's the mark of a good pitcher."
While Verlander has compiled a 0.36 ERA in winning his last four regular-season road starts dating to last year, he's been knocked around a bit during his last four visits to Seattle. Detroit's ace has gone 1-3 with a 5.20 ERA over that stretch.
Verlander, though, has won three of his last four starts against the Mariners (6-10) overall while compiling a 2.67 ERA and striking out 34 in 27 innings. He'll need to be wary of Kendrys Morales , who's gone 7 for 18 with a homer and three doubles in their matchups.
Iwakuma (2-0, 2.18) is coming off an impressive performance of his own, yielding one run and three hits over 6 2-3 innings opposite Yu Darvish in Friday's 3-1 win over Texas.
"We didn't even use his curveball," batterymate Kelly Shoppach said. "I couldn't find a spot to use it, everything else was so good. ... The way he commanded every pitch to both sides of the plate was pretty special."
Iwakuma was removed after throwing just 90 pitches due to a blister on his pitching hand, but he doesn't expect to be hindered Thursday.
"That was something I had to think about being on the mound. But I'll be ready, I have five days of rest this time. I should be ready for my next start," he said.
In his only career appearance against Detroit, Iwakuma allowed one run, three hits and struck out five over three innings of relief May 7.
He'll surely be looking to add to Fielder's recent woes. The slugging first baseman, who entered Tuesday batting .429, has gone 0 for 11 with nine strikeouts over the last two days.
Despite taking the first two in this series, Detroit is 5-10 over its last 15 matchups versus Seattle.
|April 09, 2013||Victor Martinez||Day-to-Day||Lacerated right thumb|
|March 22, 2013||Avisail Garcia||15-Day DL||Bruised right heel|
|April 15, 2013||Stephen Pryor||15-Day DL||Torn right lat muscle|
|April 12, 2013||Michael Morse||Day-to-Day||Fractured finger|
|April 11, 2013||Michael Saunders||15-Day DL||Sprained right shoulder|
|April 10, 2013||Michael Saunders||Day-to-Day||Sprained right shoulder|
|March 25, 2013||Josh Kinney||60-Day DL||Stress reaction, left shoulder|
|March 19, 2013||Brendan Ryan||Day-to-Day||Stiffness in neck|
SEATTLE (AP) -- Kyle Seager made the most of his chance against Justin Verlander .
Seager hit a pinch-hit, two-out RBI double in the seventh inning to break a scoreless tie and help give the Mariners a 2-0 victory over the Tigers on Thursday.
Robert Andino singled to left with two outs in the seventh. Seager entered to hit for Brendan Ryan .
"It's not a normal situation where you pinch hit, but I felt like any opportunity, albeit slight, you're going to take advantage of it," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Seager hit Verlander's first pitch into the left-field corner. Andino raced around from first to score.
"It was belt-high and outer half," Verlander said. "For what he was trying to do right there, it was the perfect pitch. Perfect for what he was trying to do, not what I was trying to do."
Endy Chavez followed with a single to left, scoring Seager. Tigers catcher Alex Avila caught the throw from left fielder Andy Dirks , but did not position himself in front of the plate to block Seager's slide. He slid under the tag.
"I was going straight in on my slide," Seager said. "The ball bounced in front of the plate and he leaned back to catch the hop, which opened it up for me to catch the corner (of the plate)."
The teams started the series finale about 13 hours after the Tigers' 2-1 victory in 14 innings Wednesday, in a game that had a combined 40 strikeouts and had Justin Smoak tagged out at home in a collision with catcher Brayan Pena for the final out.
"It was the right time, right place, he (Seager) comes in with a big hit," said closer Tom Wilhelmsen , who picked up his sixth save. "We get another one there to make sure this one is not going extras."
Verlander (2-2), who threw 126 pitches in seven innings, struck out 12 - two short of his career high - and gave up nine hits, two runs and walked one.
Carter Capps (1-1) worked two innings to pick up his first major league victory.
Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma continued his strong start. He matched up well with Verlander until he developed a blister in the middle finger of his right hand, forcing him to leave after just six innings and 70 pitches. He allowed three hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
"I should be good to go (for his next start)," Iwakuma said through an interpreter. "I've had this blister since the last day of spring training and I've been fighting through the whole situation. I should be OK."
In his four starts this season, Iwakuma has allowed just 12 hits, five runs, two walks and 18 strikeouts. He has a 1.69 ERA this season.
One of the Tigers' best chances came in the first when Miguel Cabrera sent Chavez to the warning track. But Chavez went to the left-center wall to make the catch.
Chavez also made an outstanding diving catch in the ninth on a Prince Fielder blooper.
"I try to catch anything that's possible," Chavez said. "With Victor Martinez behind (Fielder), I know he has some power. I just didn't want him to hit with men on base. So I try to go for it."
The only Tiger to reach second base was Martinez in the fifth. He singled, advanced to second on Jhonny Peralta 's ground out and was left stranded.
The Mariners struck out 12 times on Thursday, one game after they set a club record with 21 strikeouts on Wednesday.
Notes: After the 14-inning game Wednesday, the Mariners needed to add to their bullpen. The club promoted RHP Hector Noesi from Triple-A Tacoma before the game. RHP Bobby LaFrombois, who came up April 10, went back down. "It's his day to pitch, so we needed a guy who can give us the greatest amount of length, in case we needed it," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. ... Fielder had two hits after going 0 for 11 in the first two games. ... The combined 40 strikeouts by the Tigers and Mariners on Wednesday tied for the second most since 1920. ... The A's and Angels combined for a record 43 in 20 innings on July 9, 1971 and the Padres and Giants also had 40 on June 19, 2001.