The Seattle Mariners beat the Detroit Tigers 2-1, John Jaso's 8th inning RBI single winning the game and series. Luke Putkonen (0-1) took the loss in relief of Drew Smyly, who deserved better. Jason Vargas (4-2) went 8 strong innings for the win, Brandon League getting credit for his 8th save. Offensively...well, both teams were offensive.
Before the season started, the names Smyly and Vargas aren't what you would expect to hear when the words words "pitching duel" are used. Yet that's what we got tonight, as both starting pitchers were dominant. Smyly no-hitting the Mariners into the 4th and allowing just a single run, Vargas holding the Tigers to 5 hits and 1 run.
The Mariners got on the board in the 4th inning. An Ichiro single and stolen base was followed by a Brendan Ryan double off the top of the right field wall. 1-0, Mariners.
The Tigers got semi-untracked in the 6th, Gerald Laird sparking a rally with a lead off double. Brennan Boesch singled G$ to 3rd, who then strolled home on Austin Jackson's sac fly to tie the game at 1 all.
As per the Tigers' script, Smyly was pulled after 6 innings and 93 pitches, replaced by Luke Putkonen to start the 7th. Nothing changed, other than the name on the back of the jersey, Putkonen sending the Mariners down 1-2-3.
At the same time, Vargas was dealing, making the Tigers offense look feeble (what's new?), easily setting down the Tigers 1-2-3 in the 7th and 8th.
Mariners' manager Eric Wedge went by the book, bunting Saunders to 3rd. Duane Below took over for Putkonen, Jim Leyand wanting a lefty to face the LH hitting John Jaso. But Jaso foiled the lefty-lefty strategy, taking Below to the opposite field for an RBI single and a neigh insurmountable 2-1 lead.
Mariners' closer Brandon League came on to shut the door, but opened it a crack by walking Jackson to start the 9th. But the God awful, rotten luck for the Tigers continued, as Boesh hit a line drive so hard Ryan couldn't handle it...but he was able to recover in time to turn a 6-4-3 double play. Miguel Cabrera ended his lousy series at the plate by flying out to end the game. And so it goes.
You have to score to win. The Tigers can't score.
Another gut punch loss. I'm getting used to them.