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Tigers move into first-place tie with victory over Mariners

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Final - 6.11.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Seattle Mariners 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 5 1
Detroit Tigers 2 1 0 0 0 3 1 1 X 8 14 0
WP: Max Scherzer (8 - 2)
LP: Michael Pineda (6 - 4)

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BOX

KEY STAT

1 run: Max Scherzer got back on track by allowing just four hits and two walks to the Mariners. After recent struggles Scherzer really needed to get back on track and a lacking Mariners offense helped in that.

KEY PLAY

Let's go with Brennan Boesch working his way on base in the first inning with two outs to extend the inning. Victor Martinez drove him in two batters later. Detroit managed to score two runs off a good rookie pitcher, Michael Pineda, and opened the flood gates later in the game thanks to getting to him early.

KEY THOUGHTS

FIRST PLACE AT LAST! (Or as my friend Brandon would point out, a winning percentage of 0.0015 behind the Indians for second place. Nerd. Just kidding. Maybe.) It took the Tigers about three weeks to make up a 7 game deficit last held on May 23. They trailed by as many as 8 games in April. Fortunately the team that ran out to an early first place was Cleveland, not the White Sox, or that may have been a lot harder to make up.

As I pointed out, the first inning was key. Thanks to Boesch, the Tigers managed to eke out a couple of early runs on a day you wondered if they'd score any. Pineda came into the game with an ERA of 2.33, and he only allowed more than 3 runs once in the 12 games he started. Well, now it's twice in 13 games after Detroit tagged him for a season-high 6.

Detroit obviously hit well. The top three batters in the lineup combined for seven hits. Key offseason acquisition Victor Martinez had three more from the five-spot. And in the bottom third of the order, Jhonny Peralta homered. The team was 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position, by the way.

Getting back to Scherzer, his start was no mirage. He threw as fast as 97 miles per hour and elicited 14 swinging strikes on 101 pitches. His slider, which had been a problem and led to some mechanical adjustments, caused the Mariners to swing and miss 31% of the time. So I'd say that issue was fixed, for the night anyway.

OK, enjoy it for the night, because Felix Hernandez is on the mound Sunday...

IN OTHER NEWS

Magglio Ordonez is 3-for-5 tonight for Toledo and had his second HR in as many days. He's now batting .297 with the Mud Hens.