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Tigers 8, Mariners 3: Bullpen and bats get it done

That’s a series win, folks.

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

Few combinations of words inspire such little confidence in Detroit Tigers fans as “bullpen day.”

With RHP Spencer Turnbull missing his turn in the rotation on Thursday with forearm discomfort, Detroit manager A.J. Hinch had to turn to his pen in an attempt to capture the series win over the visiting Seattle Mariners.

As if being without a starting pitcher is not bad enough, it gets worse: RHP Michael Fulmer recently hit the 10-Day IL, LHP Daniel Norris threw 30 pitches in Wednesday night’s 11-inning loss and both LHP Derek Holland and RHP Rony Garcia unexpectedly hit the injured list on Thursday morning.

We’re happy to report that everything went better than expected. The Tigers offense carried the day, and the bullpen held up their end en route to an 8-3 victory and a series win.

Tyler Alexander took the mound first and was followed by Bryan Garcia, Jason Foley, Joe Jimenez, Alex Lange and Gregory Soto with no one surrendering more than a single run in their turn.

Of course, it helps when the bats put up eight runs on 11 hits.

Things looked grim early when OF Mitch Haniger took Alexander deep in the second AB of the game, but 1B Jonathan Schoop answered in the bottom of the frame by taking Justus Sheffield into the seventh row of the right field bleachers.

And the Tigers never trailed again.

Isaac Paredes contributed his first RBI of 2021 shortly after, driving in Miguel Cabrera — who reached with his 2,900th career hit and 1,093rd extra-base hit two batters prior.

One inning later, C Jake Rogers started off what ended up being perhaps the best game of his MLB career thus far, launching a 423-foot nuke to left field to extend the lead to 3-1.

You’re right, @Tigers. It is in the stache.

Rogers wasn’t done there: he tripled — yes, tripled! — in the seventh, driving in Daz Cameron to push Detroit’s advantage to 8-3, following up on Robbie Grossman’s eighth home run of the season. It was the first three-bagger of his big league career.

Speaking of firsts, Foley also collected the inaugural punch-out of his MLB career on Thursday and OF Daz Cameron made his first career start in center field after Derek Hill hit the IL with a shoulder strain. Foley collected six outs, allowing one run one one hit and Cameron went 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored.

With a five-run advantage, Soto needed to see just three batters with 12 pitches in the ninth inning to give the Tigers their second series win of the season over Seattle. They finish their 2021 schedule against Seattle with a 5-1 mark.

Also of note, the Tigers catchers collectively lead all teams in baseball with 17 home runs. Weird, right?