Casey Mize spun 7.2 innings of three hit, one run ball, and a pair of home runs by Eric Haase and one by Jonathan Schoop paced the Tigers to a 4- 1 victory in Seattle. This might go down as the day that Mize broke out, pitching the best game of his young career.
The Tigers loaded the bases in the first inning on a single by Jeimer Candelario and a pair of walks to Miguel Cabrera and Niko Goodrum but Wilson Ramos struck out to end the threat. Seattle put a pair of runners on with a single by rookie sensation Jared Kelenic and a walk to Mitch Haniger. Mize struck out Kyle Seager and got Kyle Lewis to hit into an inning ending double play to end the threat and keep the game scoreless after one frame.
Eric Haase, playing in left field, opened the scoring to lead off the second inning with a 429-foot solo shot to center field. Two outs later, Robbie Grossman walked and Jonathan Schoop went opposite field with a two run homer to put the Tigers on top, 3- 0.
Mize got JP Crawford to ground out to start the third inning, then gave up a single to Jose Marmelos, but erased him on another inning ending double play, this time by Tom Murphy.
Kikuchi retired the Tigers in order in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, slowing what was a mounting pitch count. He cruised into the sixth inning, getting Cabrera to ground out to third before walking Goodrum to break the streak at 11 Tigers retired in succession. Niko stole second but was stranded when Ramos popped out and Haase struck out to end the inning. His day was done at 96 pitches.
Kikuchi, final line: 6.0 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 4 BB, 8 K’s, ERA 4.32
Mize retired the Mariners in the order in the third. He walked Seager with one out in the bottom of the fourth, then struck out Lewis before Schoop, back home at second base, made a diving stop into right field to get Crawford to end the inning. Welcome back, defense! 3- 0 Tigers after four innings.
Mize struck out Marmolejos looking to lead off the fifth, dusting him off with 95 mph heat on the inside corner. After Murphy popped out to second, Haniger drew a walk on a 3- 2 pitch, but was stranded when Donovan Walton lined out to Grossman in right field.
Mize came out in the sixth to face the Mariners for the third time through the order. He got Kelenic to fly out to shallow right field, then Haniger grounded out to third, and Seager grounded out to second. The seven pitch inning added up to 76 pitches, 20 fewer than Kikuchi as the Tigers held on to a 3- 0 lead after six innings.
JT Chargois came on in relief of Kikuchi in the top of the seventh inning, and gave up a lead off single up the middle to Jacoby Jones for the Tigers’ fourth hit. Jones was thrown out trying to steal second. Jake Rogers singled to right field with one out, and Grossman, flipping over to bat right handed, struck out for the third time in the game, as did Schoop to end the Tigers’ seventh.
Mize came out for the bottom of the seventh inning, getting Lewis and Crawford to ground out, then striking out Marmolejos to finish off a clean, nine pitch inning. He had now retired the last seven Seattle hitters. After the Tigers went down in order in the eighth, Mize was back out on the mound.
After missing with the first two pitches to Tom Murphy, Mize threw a center cut 93 mph fastball which was launched into the left field stands, losing the shutout, but holding a 3- 1 lead. He bounced back to strike out Haggerty and Walton. With Kelenic due up, Mize was removed by AJ Hinch.
He didn’t love it, but Hinch and pitching coach Chris Fetter were just amused.
Any lip readers out there? pic.twitter.com/XCg6yagh5b— Motor City Bengals (@MCB_Tigers) May 18, 2021
Mize final line: 7.2 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 3 BB, 7 K. ERA now 3.69
Gregory Soto replaced Mize and got Kelenic to ground out to second to end the inning.
With one out in the top of the ninth, Haase drilled his second home run of the game, a 429 foot blast into the stands in left-center field.
Michael Fulmer, who has been the Tigers’ best pitcher out of the bullpen this season, took the mound for the ninth inning to face the Mariners’ 2-3-4 hitters. After a leadoff single to Haniger, Seager struck out, Lewis flew out to center field, and Crawford grounded out to third base to seal the victory for Detroit and giving Fulmer his third save.
The Tigers improve to 16- 25 for the season, having won six of their last ten contests. The two teams collide twice more this week.
Maybe not having to catch took a little pressure off Eric Haase, who hit his second homer of the night in the top of the 9th! #DetroitRoots pic.twitter.com/JR40U8q6RT— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) May 18, 2021