Murphy, Smith rally Mariners to win over Tigers
- Jan-Jaap Abbink
Mallex Smith hit an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Seattle Mariners a 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
Smith drove in Kyle Seager on a full-count pitch from reliever Jose Cisnero (0-1) to complete a three-run rally that started with Tom Murphy’s tying, two-run homer in the seventh.
Roenis Elias (3-2) pitched a 1-2-3 inning to get the win with help from shortstop J.P. Crawford, who made a diving stab and spinning, no-look throw for the third out of the ninth.
The victory gave the Mariners their first three-game winning streak since June 19-21.
Detroit has lost four straight and 10 of 11.
Tigers starter Daniel Norris entered the seventh with a 2-0 lead on homers by Brandon Dixon and John Hicks. The left-hander gave up a leadoff double to Daniel Vogelbach before Murphy hit his 10th home run on a 2-2 pitch.
Norris allowed five hits and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings.
Seattle’s often porous defense came up with three big plays to keep the Tigers off the basepaths. Crawford’s was the most eye-popping defensive stop. But the Mariners, who have committed 99 errors this year, kept rookie starter Yusei Kikuchi in the game by limiting the Tigers to their two solo homers.
First baseman Austin Nola turned an unassisted double play in the fourth after Miguel Cabrera’s leadoff single. Dixon hit a grounder to first, where Nola made the force out. Inexplicably, Cabrera broke back to first on the grounder and was tagged by Nola as he attempted to slide.
Jeimer Candelario and Niko Goodrum opened the fifth with consecutive singles before Hicks sent a liner to center. Smith charged and made a shoe-top catch, firing quickly to second where Candelario was doubled up.
Kikuchi was pulled after giving up seven hits and four runs in six innings. Matt Wisler, Anthony Bass and Elias combined to strike out five in 2 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit.
After winning only five games in June, the Tigers have just two victories in July and are 1-13 overall against the AL West this season.
The Mariners promoted Ryan Court from Triple-A Tacoma and gave him a pinch-hit opportunity in the ninth, making the 31-year-old rookie the 58th player to appear on the roster this season. That easily leads the major leagues and is three shy of the team record set in 2017.
Court was the 13th player to make his big league debut with Seattle this season. The 12th, Tim Lopes, was placed on the seven-day concussion list after taking Drew VerHagen’s fastball to the side of the helmet in Thursday night’s 10-2 win over the Tigers.
“This roster has been crazy,” Mariners manager Scott Servais joked. “I sat down with (Court) to try and figure out what positions he plays. . Right now, it’s about timing, being in the right place at the right time.”
Court will likely see time in the outfield as starters Domingo Santana and Mitch Haniger continue to rehab injuries.
Mariners: Santana looked good during batting practice, hitting a few home runs and driving the ball to the gaps with his injured right elbow. That means he could appear as a designated hitter as the weekend series continues against Detroit. . Seattle reliever Hunter Strickland is a few days from returning from the 60-day injured list after his third successful relief stint at Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday night. Strickland has not pitched this season after straining his right lat muscle in March. . Felix Hernandez will throw another live batting practice session Sunday instead of going out on a rehab assignment, Servais said. Though he was physically sound, Hernandez struggled with his command Thursday during a 22-pitch session. If he looks better Sunday, he’ll go to the minors next week for an outing of two to three innings. . Ryon Healey, out since May 21 with spinal stenosis, was moved to the 60-day injured list.
Tigers: LHP Tyler Alexander (0-0, 2.25 ERA) makes the third start of his career after picking up his first quality start in a no-decision Sunday at Toronto.
Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales (11-8, 4.37 ERA) is 6-2 in eight starts since June 7.