Mike Zunino thought he was going to get the day off, but didn’t. He entered the game in the 10th. In the 12th, after twice failing to get down bunts, turned on an up-in-the-zone change and smacked an RBI double, lifting the Mariners to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers and a split of a four-game series (box score). Not that in will do them much good, but the Mariners sliced a game off the Angels’ lead in the AL West. The Mariners trail by 10.5 following LA’s 3-0 loss to Minnesota.
After Chris Taylor singled off Ian Krol to open the 12th, Zunino twice tried to advance him to second. Zunino’s first bunt rolled foul, the second popped foul, but the Tigers couldn’t catch it. Given that reprieve, Zunino rocketed a shot down the left-field line. LF Yoenis Cespedes seemed to have a bead on it, but the ball caromed crazily off a rail and past him back into left. Taylor scooted across the plate with what proved to be the winning run.
Kyle Seager ripped his 15th home run in the first and finished 2-for-6, one of three with multi-hit games for Seattle. Robinson Cano went 2-for-4 and Mark Trumbo 2-for-5. Trumbo’s RBI single in the seventh tied the score at 2.
The Mariners had multiple opportunities to take the lead, but flailed with runners in scoring position in the seventh, ninth and 11th innings. Logan Morrison twice failed to produce with RISP in those innings.Seattle finished 1-for-12.
In a May 2 game at Houston, Zunino twice failed to lay down a bunt and wound up hitting a home run. Detroit’s Ian Kinsler produced 10 hits during the four-game series.
Hisashi Iwakuma enjoyed one of his best outings, working seven innings while striking out a season-high seven. After giving up three hits to start the game, Iwakuma allowed only three more and departed with the score tied. He also tossed a season-high 117 pitches and lowered his ERA to 3.40.
Mark Lowe delivered huge eighth and ninth innings, recording four strikeouts. With Cespedes on second and one out in the eighth, Lowe fanned Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez (both looking) . . . Tom Wilhelmsen recorded his first save since June 2014 . . . Detroit starter David Price allowed two runs on five hits in eight innings, striking out seven.
“You try to keep mentally in the game. I wish I’d gotten the bunt down, but I’ll take the hit at the end of that. Hopefully, we can use this momentum coming into a home series” — Zunino after his game-winning hit.
“That was a tough ball game. The odds were against us with their big gun (David Price) on the mound, but Iwakuma got his rhythm going and threw the ball pretty good. This trip could have been a lot better, but I’m extremely proud because we could have mailed this in. But we were gritty” — manager Lloyd McClendon.
The Mariners went 3-4 on the road trip and are 9-15-7 in series played . . . Fifty-six of Seattle’s 96 games have been decided by two or fewer runs . . . Mariners are 19-17 in one-run contests . . . Mariners have played 12 extra-inning games, most in the American League . . . Reliever Charlie Furbush, who is eligible to come off the disabled list, will probably need a minor league rehab stint before joining the club. Furbush, who hasn’t pitched for Seattle since July 7, is trying to make his way back from biceps tendinitis.
The Mariners begin a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays Friday at Safeco Field (7:10 p.m.). Felix Hernandez (11-5, 2.77) will throw against a Blue Jays starter yet to be named (R.A. Dickey had been slated to start, but pitched Thursday).