Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello (21) pitches in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park.(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
DETROIT (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - The Detroit Tigers scored three times on two-out hits as they beat the Seattle Mariners, 4-2, tonight at Comerica Park.
The Tigers' magic number to win their third straight AL Central Division title is now eight. The Indians, in second place, are playing tonight in Kansas City. A Royals win would take the magic number down to seven.
Rick Porcello struck out 10, one shy of his season high, and gave up an earned run on five hits and two walks on 105 pitches in six innings.
The Tigers broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of runs with two outs in the sixth. Miguel Cabrera drew a walk and Prince Fielder singled. Then, Victor Martinez lined an RBI single down the rightfield line and Omar Infante (two hits) drove in Fielder with a single to left.
Detroit added another run with two out in the seventh. Alex Avila led off with an infield single off reliever Tom Wilhelmsen. After Jose Iglesias bunted the runner to second, Torii Hunter (two hits) hit a two-out single up the middle to make it a three-run game.
The first real mistake Porcello (13-8) made was to Abraham Almonte in the fourth, who hit a one-out, solo home run to right to tie the game.
But from there, Porcello gave up just two walks and two singles for the rest of his outing, striking out eight in the process, including the side in the sixth.
In the ninth, Joaquin Benoit walked the leadoff man, Nick Franklin. But he got pinch hitter Endy Chavez to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. Benoit then struck out Dustin Ackley for his 21st save in as many tries.
Detroit pushed one across in the first inning with some help from Seattle. Hunter reached on a one-out single and reached third on a Cabrera base hit. Then, starter Joe Saunders threw a wild pitch, allowing Hunter to score.
Saunders (11-15) pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out three.
Drew Smyly relieved Porcello in the seventh, and pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, which included a strikeout. He gave up a ouble to Raul Ibanez in the eighth after recording two outs. Then, Justin Smoak hit a single through the left side of the infield, scoring Ibanez and ending Smyly's night.
Jose Veras came in and got pinch hitter Michael Saunders to fly out to right to end the inning.
BY KIRKLAND CRAWFORD/DFP