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Mariners 9, Tigers 5: Michael Fulmer falls as M’s earn a doubleheader split

A short, bad outing from Michael Fulmer left the Tigers little chance in this one.

MLB: Game Two-Seattle Mariners at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers saw another rough outing from Michael Fulmer, and while they got to King Felix, the Mariners won a battle of bullpens 9-5 to split the double-header.

The Mariners got on the board first in the nightcap. They pushed Michael Fulmer beyond 30 pitches in the first inning, though only scoring one run. Fulmer came back with a pair of strikeouts in the second inning, and his team got to Felix Hernandez for two runs to get Fulmer a lead to work with.

Once again, it was JaCoby Jones making ish happen out there. He beat out an infield single to our old friend Andrew Romine, and then raced around to score from first on Pete Kozma’s RBI double. Dixon Machado singled home Kozma and the Tigers led 2-1 through two innings.

Fulmer spun a solid third, but the Mariners bit back in the fourth. With one on, Fulmer hung a slider to 1B Ryon Healy, who promptly deposited it deep in the seats beyond the visitor’s bullpen. Fulmer escaped the inning, but poor strike throwing and some lengthy at-bats by the Mariners left him beyond 80 pitches with just four innings under his belt.

Things got worse in the fifth. For the second time in the game, Fulmer walked Andrew Romine to leadoff an inning. If that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about Fulmer’s command in this one, I can’t help you. Fulmer proceeded to walk Dee Gordon’s powerless self next, on four straight pitches, before briefly rebounding to strike out Mitch Haniger. There was an opportunity to salvage a mediocre outing at this point, but instead Fulmer surrendered a three-run jack to Robinson Cano on a changeup, ending his outing.

No one had been particularly happy with home plate umpire Carlos Torres all night long. He called pitched six inches outside strikes. He called edge pitches balls. There was zero consistency and Torres heard it from both sides all night. With James McCann grousing during his at-bat in the fifth, Ron Gardenhire jumped in to take the ejection, and got his money’s worth from an impassive Torres. The gambit saved his catcher and allowed the Tigers to get a rally going. McCann lined a double to left, and then rode home on John Hicks two-run shot into the visiting bullpen. The score was 6-4, and the Tigers weren’t quite done.

JaCoby Jones followed Hicks to the dish and was promptly hit on the elbow guard by Hernandez. Pete Kozma then flared a single to right after fouling off multiple two-strike pitches. Jones burned his way to third base and held up momentarily as third base coach Dave Clark frantically tried to wave him down. Jones was having none of it, slowing just enough to deke right fielder Mitch Haniger into double pumping on a throw home. With Clark diving out of the way to clear the path, Jones reignited the jets and raced home just ahead of the throw to make it 6-5.

Unfortunately, Fulmer’s early departure meant a lot of work for the Tigers bullpen. Imagine our delight at this prospect. It went how you’d expect. Warwick Saupold, Ryan Carpenter and Buck Farmer did their part, getting the game to the seventh without another Mariners run. Daniel Stumpf came on for the seventh, and promptly blew up once again. Stumpf allowed three runs before recording his first out. He left with the Mariners up 9-5. Louis Coleman proceeded to load the bases on a walk and a hit batter, but got a shallow flyout to left. The Mariners challenged Mikie Mahtook’s arm trying to score, and lost.

Coleman was erratic, but he did give the Tigers a scoreless eighth with the help of a double play ball. The Tigers went in order, but not without Carlos Torres getting in another clownshoes moment. With two outs, Mikie Mahtook quite obviously fouled a two-strike pitch off his leg. It ricocheted out to the mound, where Juan Nicasio threw Mahtook out. Bizarrely, and despite clearly having no idea what had happened, Torres called the ball fair and allowed the inning to end. It didn’t matter, but woof was Torres a mess in this one.

Zac Reininger made an appearance in the ninth. He showed off a 95 mph fastball and average slider. Reininger allowed a single, but got a flyout to center before escaping the inning via some nifty Pete Kozma glovework. Ben Gamel lined out to Kozma, who quickly whipped the ball over to first to double off a leaning Kyle Seager. That was the last of the action, as the Tigers went down quietly in the ninth.

No more injuries please

Nicholas Castellanos left the nightcap in the first inning after being hit on his left hand by King Felix. Initial reports say it was just a bruise to the pinky finger. The Tigers better hope so, with Miguel Cabrera and Leonys Martin already down with injuries.