Detroit Tigers take series over Seattle Mariners with 5-4 win

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The Detroit Tigers survived a ninth inning scare and earned a series victory through a 5-4 win in the rubber match of a three-game set with the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday afternoon. Anibal Sanchez was just good enough and the bullpen shut down the opposing hitters to earn Detroit’s 43rd win of the year.

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The Tigers grabbed the lead early against Mariners’ starter J.A. Happ behind a second inning single from the red-hot J.D. Martinez. He then moved to second on a wild-pitch and was brought home by a single from another hot player, Nick Castellanos.

One batter later, Jefry Marte earned his first hit and RBI of his big league career with a one-out double to bring home another run. Jose Iglesias, after taking a foul of his shin, doubled home Marte and, for the third straight game, the Tigers grabbed a 3-0 lead.

Just as they had the last couple of days, the Tigers let the Mariners chip away at that 3-0 lead. Marte tried and failed to make a diving stop of a Mark Trumbo bouncing ball into right field to lead off the second inning. A couple batters later, with Trumbo on third and two outs, Sanchez made a great attempt on a Jesus Sucre squibber, but Marte misjudged the ball and it caromed past him for an error and Seattle’s first run. The Mariners manufactured their second run in the third inning to close the gap to one.

While Marte had his struggles at first base Wednesday, he did not struggle at the plate. After recording his first hit and RBI in his first at-bat of the day, he drilled his first career homer to make the score 4-2 in his second at-bat in the fourth inning.

Although the offense continued to fire on all cylinders, the starting pitching continued to allow Seattle to erase lead after lead. Dustin Ackley launched a two-run shot in the fourth inning to tie the game at 4. It was Sanchez’s 19th homer surrendered this year.

That’s the way it stayed until the top of the seventh inning when the Tigers loaded the bases after J.D. Martinez was nailed on the hand with a pitch. He stayed in the game and Castellanos hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score the fifth run of the game.

After allowing the fourth inning homer, Sanchez settled down and gave the Tigers some much-needed innings to spare a taxed bullpen. He went 6.1 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits, walking five and striking out six batters.

Blaine Hardy and Al Alburquerque came on in relief and worked 1.2 innings before giving way to Joakim Soria in the ninth inning. The Tigers’ closer got two quick outs before walking the next two. He struck out Trumbo to erase the threat and earn his 19th save of the season.

The Tigers will continue on their road trip to take on the team directly above them in the standings, the Minnesota Twins at Target Field for the last four games before the All-Star break. The series kicks off Thursday night as David Price faces Mike Pelfrey. The Tigers trail the second-place Twinkies by 2.5 games.

Next: Tigers First Half Report Cards

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