SEATTLE — Kyle Seager wouldn’t give in. He’d seen a 97 mph under his chin and wouldn’t chase on the subsequent curveball away.
Facing Tigers closer Justin Wilson — a nasty lefty — he stayed in on a fastball and hammered a double to right field to score pinch-runner Tyler Smith from second for 5-4 walk off win over the Tigers in the 10th inning Tuesday night.
“It’s a great feeling,” Seager said. “It was a battle all night. Fortunately, we came out on top. Doubles are good. I like those.”
With the win, the Mariners improved to 36-37 and have won three in a row.
It salvaged a minor implosion from the bullpen in a game in which they never trailed after the first inning.
After one of his worst outings of the season in his previous start in Minnesota, Ariel Miranda bounced back with a strong outing, pitching seven innings and allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
It didn’t start out that way for Miranda.
On his third pitch of the game, Miranda watched Tigers leadoff man Ian Kinsler crush a homer into the upper deck in left field. The prodigious blast was the 44th time in Kinsler’s career that he led off a game with a home run.
But the Mariners answered immediately against Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann. Ben Gamel, one of the hottest hitters in the American League, led off with a double to right field to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. Mitch Haniger followed with a walk and with one out, Nelson Cruz hit a low laser of a line drive that went all to the way to the wall in deep left-center, allowing Gamel to trot home from third and Haniger to score all the way from first on the double to make it 2-1.
On Miranda’s fourth pitch of the next inning, Justin Upton launched a towering homer into the mass of un-watching humanity known as The ‘Pen for his 14th homer of the season. It tied the score at 2.
But Taylor Motter put the Mariners quickly back on top. His solo homer to left was more of a wall-scraper, barely clearing the fence in left field into Edgar’s Cantina. But its value was the same as the majestic blasts of Kinsler and Upton, and it gave the Mariners a 3-2 lead.
Miranda wouldn’t lose the lead again. He worked out of a minor jam in the third and retired 10 straight at one point. The only runner to reach base from the fourth through the seventh inning came on a fielding error by Seager.
“Miranda, just an outstanding effort,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais. “He gave up the homers the first couple of innings and he really settled in. We’ve seen him do that often here, get all of his pitches working because they were a little shaky early on, but he righted the ship. Getting seven innings out of him was awesome. They run nine right-handed hitters out there and they can really swing the bat.”
The Mariners seemed to have gotten some much-needed insurance in the seventh inning. Facing lefty specialist Daniel Stumpf, Gamel punctuated a nine-pitch battle with a solo homer to center for his third homer of the season to make it 4-2.
But it was a lead that Dan Altavilla couldn’t hold. Walks and homers have been an issue for him, and gave up a leadoff walk to Kinsler. He appeared to have worked around the trouble, striking out Nic Castellanos and Miguel Cabrera looking. But with two outs and J.D. Martinez at the plate, Altavilla bounced a slider on the first pitch.
Kinsler was running on the pitch and when the ball bounced near the Tigers dugout off the shin guard of Zunino, he kept running all the way home to make it 4-3. The next pitch might have been worse. Altavilla left a 98 mph fastball over the middle that Martinez crushed into deep right-center to tie the game.