Mariners Game Recap: Justin Upton Leads Tigers Past M’s in Extras

Jun 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Justin Upton (8) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Justin Upton (8) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

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The Tigers walked off the Mariners after a see-saw affair in the series opener on Monday night in MoTown.

It took 12 innings and nearly 5 hours, but the Detroit Tigers edged the Seattle Mariners on Monday night in the opener of a 4-game series at Comerica Park. Anibal Sanchez (4-7, 5.97 ERA) earned a rare win in relief tonight, and Vidal Nuno (0-1, 1.95 ERA) was credited with the loss for the Mariners.

The Tigers struck first in the bottom of the opening frame. Nate Karns retired Ian Kinsler leading off the game, but then issued a 5-pitch walk to Cameron Maybin. Miguel Cabrera made Karns pay, muscling up on a 92 mph fastball and clubbing it close to 500 ft. for a 2-run home run.

Seattle charged back to take the lead in the top of the second inning. Kyle Seager got things started by slugging his 14th homer of the season, a solo shot to cut Detroit’s lead in half. Following an Adam Lind pop out, Chris Iannetta and Nori Aoki came through with singles. Ketel Marte plated Iannetta on a double to tie the game, and the Mariners plunged ahead thanks to a clutch, 2-out 2-run single from Seth Smith. The veteran outfielder’s base knock gave the M’s a 4-2 lead.

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The Tigers took a bite out of the Mariners’ cushion in the home half. James McCann and Jose Iglesias led off the inning with singles, and Kinsler was plunked to load the bases with none out. Maybin grounded into a double play, but McCann was able to score on the play to make it a 4-3 game. Thankfully, that was all the damage done by Detroit.

Detroit jumped out in front in the fourth inning. Steven Moya flied out to start the frame, but McCann and Iglesias once again started the rally with back-to-back singles. Karns got Kinsler out, but Maybin scored McCann and Iglesias on a triple that split the gap in left-center field. Maybin’s three bagger gave the Tigers a 5-4 lead.

However, the lead was short-lived, as the Mariners pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the fifth. Nelson Cruz swatted a line-drive into center field for a 1-out single. Seager popped out, but Adam Lind came through with 2 outs, launching a 2-run dinger over the wall in right field. Lind’s 10th round-tripper of the season game Seattle a 6-5 lead.

Jonathan Aro replaced Karns and made his Mariners debut in the home half of the sixth inning. The imposing right-hander allowed two men to reach but also recorded a pair of outs before giving way to Nick Vincent. Blackbeard was able to strikeout Miggy to end the Tigers threat.

Scott Servais stuck with Vincent in the seventh, and that decision proved costly. Following a Victor Martinez groundout to start the inning, Nick Castellanos doubled on a line drive to right field. Vincent then fell behind Justin Upton, 2-0, and the star left fielder hit a 2-run shot to center field. Upton’s home run gave the Tigers a 7-6 lead.

But, the Mariners came back to even the score once again in the top of the eighth inning. Justin Wilson retired the first two men he faced, but Marte started the rally with a double. Leonys Martin followed by singling back through the box and into center field. The fleet footed Marte hustled around to tie the game for Seattle.

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Joaquin Benoit was asked to work the eighth inning for Seattle. The veteran right-hander made quick work of the Tigers in the eighth, but ran into some trouble in the ninth. Benoit allowed the first two men to reach with singles, which put the go-ahead run at second base with none out. But, Benoit sat down the next three men he faced to send the game to extras.

The Mariners squandered a golden opportunity in the twelfth. Lind contributed his third hit of the night with a leadoff double on a line-drive to right field. Iannetta had a productive out, as he bunted Lind over to third base. With the infield drawn in, Franklin Gutierrez grounded out for the second out. Marte then lined out to third base for the final out, and Seattle stranded the go-ahead run 90 feet from home plate.

Vidal Nuno entered in the tenth and proceeded to shut down the Detroit bats for two innings. Nuno’s impeccable work ended up all being all for not, as Upton went yard leading off the home half of the twelfth.

Next: Taijuan Walker Getting Back to Business

Looking ahead, the Mariners (36-34) will have another date with the Detroit Tigers (35-35) on Tuesday night in the Motor City. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 pm from Comerica Park. James Paxton (1-2, 2.86 ERA) will get the ball for the Mariners, and Justin Verlander (7-5, 3.87 ERA) will be on the bump for the Tigers.