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Mariners 3, Tigers 2: Bullpen wastes a brilliant outing from Liriano

The Tigers lefty took a no-hitter in the seventh.

Detroit Tigers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Francisco Liriano was brilliant in this one, taking a no-hitter deep into an eight inning, shutout performance. Unfortunately Shane Greene melted down in the ninth, and the Tigers ultimately lost 3-2 in 11 innings.

The Tigers jumped out to an early lead in this one. With two outs, Nicholas Castellanos ripped a single to left. The red hot John Hicks then pounced on a Wade LeBlanc hanger and smoked it 426 feet over the left field wall to make it 2-0 Tigers. It was to stay that way for a long, long time.

Francisco Liriano walked a pair in the first inning, but was able to escape any further trouble. However, a tight strike zone from home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski didn’t bode well for Liriano’s around the zone approach. As it turned out, Liriano didn’t need the help around the edges.

Liriano went out to retire the next 17 Mariners in a row. He mixed his whole arsenal in to snatch first pitch strikes, and had the Mariners fishing for breaking balls and changeups, or flailing at fastballs out of the zone, all game long with plenty of weak contact to prove it. His outfield got in some sprints as Mikie Mahtook and Castellanos each ran down a few deep fly balls. JaCoby Jones handled center field with his usual aplumb as Leonys Martin got a day in the DH spot. He made a fine play on Jean Segura, sprinting to the base of the wall to haul in the hardest hit ball of the game for the Mariners.

A five pitch sixth inning had Liriano’s pitch count in shape for big things, as the veteran lefty took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. It finally came to an end on a solid one out single to Mitch Haniger.

Meanwhile, the Tigers had plenty of baserunners, but couldn’t come up with the RBI hits with runners in scoring position. Pete Kozma and Jose Iglesias stranded Mikie Mahtook at second after a one-out double in the second inning. They stranded Leonys Martin at second with one-out in the third. In the sixth, James McCann tried to score from first on a two-out Iglesias double down the left field line. The Tigers’ catcher ran out of gas and was thrown out by a step. So things remained uncomfortably close throughout Liriano’s no-hit bid.

After the no-hitter came to an end, Liriano did a nice job gathering himself. He got Ryon Healy and Kyle Seager on routine plays, and returned to the mound for the eighth with just 85 pitches under him belt. He walked Gordon Beckham with one out, but battled his way through a pair of long at-bats from Mike Zunino and Andrew Romine to give the Tigers a superb eight innings of work. One hit, three walks, and five strikeouts for Liriano over eight shutout innings.

Shane Greene allowed a one-out single to Jean Segura in the ninth. Trying to make the play, Jose Iglesias threw the ball away, although John Hicks was probably the real culprit. Segura cruised to second base on the error. The next hitter, Mitch Haniger, just missed launching a two-run shot off Greene, with the fly ball curving just foul. Two pitches later he made sure, crushing a hanging breaking ball into the left field seats to tie the game. The blown save was Greene’s third on the year, making it twelve—including hold attempts—on the year for the Tigers. This bullpen has two legitimate major league arms in it.

Victor Martinez pinch-hit for Kozma in the tenth and led off with a sharp single through the shift off hard-throwing closer Edwin Diaz. Leonys Martin battled Diaz through a long at-bat before getting outright robbed on a strike three call on a slider well out of the zone. JaCoby Jones was totally over-matched by Diaz and grounded weakly into a double-play to end the top half of the 10th.

The Tigers got John Hicks to second with two-outs in the 11th, but James McCann went down flailing. The odds grew long indeed...

JoeJimenez handled the bottom half of the 10th with little issue. But with he and Greene both done for the night, the Tigers would need to score and then find someone else in this bullpen to hold a lead. The vibe grew decidedly miserable among Tigers fans.

Buck Farmer allowed a leadoff single to Dee Gordon, and some of you probably turned off your televisions. Rightly so! Jean Segura looked to offer at a strike two pitch that went past his head to the backstop. Muchlinski decided otherwise, and Gordon scampered down to second base and rode home with the walkoff run when Segura lined the next pitch just fair down the first base line. BLEH.


Who was the Tigers’ player of the game?

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    Francisco Liriano: 8.0 IP, H, 3 BB, 5 SO
    (354 votes)
  • 1%
    John Hicks: 2-5, R, 2 RBI, HR, SO
    (6 votes)
360 votes total Vote Now