DETROIT — Mariners manager Eric Wedge gained an important piece of information Saturday night. He found out that Michael Pineda won’t buckle, even when he isn’t sharp.
Seattle’s prized rookie struggled badly, allowing a career-worst six runs in 5 1-3 innings, but Wedge was happy to see
the way he bounced back after allowing three runs over the first two innings against Detroit.
“When you are looking at a starting pitcher, what you really need to see is how they will react when they don’t have their best stuff,” Wedge said. “Michael really battled back tonight, and he was better after the first couple innings. They just got him again in the end.”
Max Scherzer found his form after three rocky starts and Austin Jackson tripled twice as Detroit beat the Mariners 8-1.
Five of the runs against Pineda (6-4) were earned. He gave up eight hits and a walk.
“He didn’t have his usual stuff,” Wedge said. “His command wasn’t there and his fastball was flat, but he kept trying to find things that would work.”
Seattle catcher Miguel Olivo agreed.
“Everyone has days like that,” he said. “There’s just nothing you can do.”
At the same time, Scherzer (8-2) was rebounding from his own problems.
The right-hander had struggled in his previous three outings, but was back in charge against Seattle’s slumping offense. He allowed one run on four hits and two walks in seven innings to tie for the AL lead in wins.
“I thought we played well,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “Scherzer was much, much better obviously, and we got some big hits against a good young pitcher.”
Victor Martinez had three hits and two RBIs and Jhonny Peralta homered for the Tigers, who moved within one percentage point of first-place Cleveland in the AL Central after being as many as eight games behind in early May.
“They are swinging the bats really well right now,” Wedge said. “They work themselves into hitter’s counts and then they take advantage.”
The Mariners got their first hit on Mike Carp’s one-out single in the fifth, but ran themselves out of the inning on a pair of odd plays. Chone Figgins lined a ball off second baseman Ramon Santiago’s glove and into right, but Carp had retreated on the play and was forced out at second 4-9-6.
Greg Halman then hit a tapper toward shortstop and Peralta didn’t bother throwing to first. Figgins, though, went too far around second and was erased in an inning-ending 6-4-1-6 rundown.
Meanwhile, the Tigers were teeing off on Pineda. They took a 2-0 lead in the first on Martinez’s RBI single and a throwing error by Olivo, then added another run in the second when Jackson’s triple scored Santiago.
The Mariners got their only run in the sixth when slumping Ichiro Suzuki tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly, but Peralta’s two-run homer keyed a three-run sixth.
Martinez had an RBI double in the seventh and Jackson scored in the eighth after his second triple of the game.
NOTES: Jackson and Tigers C Alex Avila have both had two-triple games in the last three days. … Scherzer had allowed 19 earned runs in his last three starts for an ERA of 12.51. … Suzuki had gotten a rare day off Friday and was 1 for 18 on Seattle’s current road trip before tripling and singling in his final two at-bats.