Mariners Falter In Detroit, 4-2 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

Mariners Falter In Detroit, 4-2


DETROIT -- Wins have been tough to come by for Joe Saunders and the Mariners of late, and that trend continued Monday as the Tigers pulled out a 4-2 victory despite a promising beginning for the southpaw.

Saunders was sailing along with a 1-1 tie with two out in the sixth before giving up two runs on a walk and three straight hits that ended his night when manager Eric Wedge pulled the plug after 83 pitches.

A frustrated Saunders sent a bucket of sunflower seeds flying in the dugout after being replaced by Tom Wilhelmsen, who got the final out of the sixth to keep the score at 3-1.

Saunders, 32, fell to 11-15 with a 5.16 ERA as Seattle dipped to 66-84 with its seventh loss in the past eight days. Saunders is 1-5 with a 7.14 ERA over his past eight starts.

The Tigers, who sport the highest batting average in the Majors and are second to the Red Sox in runs scored, tacked on a run off Wilhelmsen in the seventh and improved their American League Central-leading record to 87-63.

Mariners right fielder Abraham Almonte continued his strong showing as a September callup as he ripped a solo home run with two out in the third off Rick Porcello.

Almonte, a speedy 24-year-old outfielder acquired from the Yankees for reliever Shawn Kelley this spring, went 2-for-4 on Monday and has hit .313 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 15 games. Almonte has recorded a hit in 12 of the 13 games in which he's had an at-bat.

But Almonte's shot was the only run allowed by Porcello in six innings as he improved to 13-8 while striking out 10 batters for just the second time in his career.

Raul Ibanez reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a double, and scored on an RBI single by Justin Smoak in the eighth to cut the lead to 4-2.

Saunders gave up a run in the first on a pair of singles and a wild pitch that allowed Torii Hunter to zip home from third. But after a leadoff double to Omar Infante in the second, the veteran tightened things up and faced the minimum number of batters from there until his ill-fated sixth.

Miguel Cabrera started the Tigers' knockout rally with a walk, Prince Fielder singled, Victor Martinez drove in Cabrera with a base hit and Infante ended Saunders' night with an RBI single to left.