Starting pitcher Jason Vargas did everything he could do to hold off the formidable Detroit lineup, and the Mariners offense did just enough to support him for a 2-1 win Wednesday night that also gave Seattle the series, 2-1, and a fifth win in six tries against Detroit this season.
The Mariners get a day off Thursday to travel to New York buoyed by a pair of 2-1 series wins in the homestand, the final triumph coming on John Jaso’s single in the eighth inning that scored Michael Saunders, who led off with a pinch-hit double and was sacrificed to third.
Jaso, who became only the second catcher in Mariners history to lead off the lineup (Bob Stinson, 1978), delivered again under pressure as he had Monday with a walk-off sacrifice fly to pull out a 3-2 win over the Tigers. His hit Wednesday came off reliever Duane Below, a hard liner over the shortstop in a drawn-in infield.
I dont think I thrive. I dont think I get more energy from it. Its just the way I am, I guess, Jaso said of the late-inning heroics. Ive been in a couple of championship situations … and I just treat it like every other game. Ive taught myself to do it and I try not to get too high or too low and stay as level as possible.
Vargas pitched one of his best games as a Mariner, giving up only five hits and one run over eight innings, finishing with six strikeouts and no walks. The Tigers’ only run came a a double and two singles in the sixth.
The Mariners fared no better against Detroit’s young ace, 22-year-old rookie Drew Smyly. In his six innings, he gave up two hits, but they hurt him. In the fourth, Ichiro singled, stole second and came home on a double by Kyle Seager.
The Mariners begin a 10-day, four-city road trip Friday with three in New York, followed by two in Boston, two in Cleveland and three in Denver against the Rockies, their first interleague series.