Tigers’ bullpen collapses; Jesus Montero hits 400-foot double and John Jaso brings home the game winner with a sacrifice fly.
In their most unlikely win of the season, the Mariners took advantage of a collapse by relief pitcher Octavio Dotel to score three runs in the ninth inning to shock Detroit 3-2 Monday, the Mariners’ fourth consecutive win over the Tigers.
Crushed for seven innings by their former teammate, Doug Fister, the Mariners, winners of three in a row after seven straight losss, discovered easier pickings with Dotel, 38, a veteran of 706 games over 14 seasons, to make for their first walk-off win of the season. The Tigers’ regular closer, Jose Valverde, was unavailable after three consecutive appearances.
Dotel walked the first two batters, Brendan Ryan and Ichiro, then wild-pitched the runners up a base before doing it again, throwing away a 2-0 pitch to Jesus Montero that allowed in the Mariners’ first run.
Montero then doubled, blasting a 3-2 fastball off the 405-foot mark in straightaway center field to score Ichiro with the tying run. Munenori Kawasaki came in to run for Montero, and made it easily to third on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Kyle Seager for the first out.
Then John Jaso lifted a fly ball to medium right field, from where Ryan Raburn’s throw was slightly wide right, allowing Kawasaki and his hook slide in with the winner.
“It’s hard to describe it unless you’re in it,” said Wedge, whose late-game moves all worked. “The feeling after winning like that his fantastic. You really feel good for the players.”
The win took the edge off a scary moment in the third inning when starting pitcher Blake Beavan took a hard shot off his right pitching elbow. The carom from slugger Miguel Cabrera’s liner turned into a 1-5-4-3 double play that ended inning, but also Beavan’s game. He walked off the field showing no emotion or pain, but
Wedge said the prognosis will await an exam Tuesday.
“I was more mad than hurt at the time,” said Beavan, smiling in the clubhouse. “It was probably the hardest ball ever hit back at me. I’d rather it hit me in the back and or butt. I guess I sacrificed my body for the team.”
Fister, pitching for the first time in a month after a rib-cage injury, was brilliant, using only 73 pitches and giving four hits, no walks and no runs. But the Tigers’ potent lineup could not break open the game against four relievers — Hisashi Iwakuma, Shawn Kelley, Charlie Furbush and Steve Delabar.
Iwakuma went three innings, struck out five and gave up only one run.
“Iwakuma located his fastball and used the rest of his pitches well,” said Wedge, “and the rest of the guys gave us every opportunity to get something going.”