SEATTLE (AP) — With overworked Tigers closer Jose Valverde getting the night off, the Mariners had no trouble putting together a ninth-inning rally.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland knew pregame that Valderde would not be available, so he turned to veteran Octavio Dotel on Monday night with a 2-0 lead in the ninth inning.
Dotel couldn’t get it done as Seattle rallied for a 3-2 victory on John Jaso’s sacrifice fly that scored pinch-runner Munenori Kawasaki.
Dotel started the ninth by walking Brendan Ryan after nearly hitting him twice. A walk to Ichiro Suzuki followed then a wild pitch, advancing both runners.
A visit from catcher Alex Avila along with a separate visit from pitching coach Jeff Jones could not settle Dotel down.
His first pitch to Jesus Montero with two runners on was again wide of Avila, which resulted in a passed ball and scored Ryan. Montero pushed the count to 3-0 before finally seeing a strike. Montero fouled off the next pitch, then doubled to deep center, the ball hitting the wall just left of the 405 marker, to drive in Ichiro and tie the game.
“I just couldn’t throw a strike,” Dotel said. “I was trying to hit my spot, but it doesn’t work today.”
That was it for Dotel (1-1), who threw only four of his 16 pitches for strikes.
“Walks will kill you, and they killed us,” Leyland said.
Kyle Seager bunted Kawasaki to third and Jaso followed with his flyout to finish the rally.
Leyland chose to give Valverde the night off after three consecutive appearances. Leyland also decided prior to the game he would not use Joaquin Benoit.
“Benoit may have been available, but I wasn’t using either one of them,” Leyland said. “I’m not going to get greedy. They knew before the game. I made it clear to everyone that I was not going to use them tonight.”
The comeback denied Detroit starter Doug Fister his first win of the season in his second start. He was removed from his first start April 7 after straining his left side. On Monday night, he allowed four hits, walked none and struck out three.
“There was a lot of progress made as far as my health and feeling,” Fister said.
Seattle starter Blake Beavan left after being hit on the right elbow by a line drive in the third inning.
Beavan was in trouble in third after Austin Jackson singled and stole second. Andy Dirks moved Jackson to third with a single, bringing Miguel Cabrera to the plate. Cabrera’s strong line drive of an 0-1 pitch hit Beavan and the ball caromed to third baseman Seager, who picked it up to start what turned out to be a 1-5-4-3 inning-ending double play.
Beavan walked off the mound without wincing but Hisashi Iwakuma took over in the fourth for Beavan, who was diagnosed with a right elbow contusion after throwing three innings and allowing a run. X-Rays of Beavan’s elbow were negative. He’s hopeful of making his next start and will be re-examined Tuesday morning.
Fister dominated his seven innings, retiring the side in order in both the fourth and fifth. The only solid hit came from Justin Smoak, who drove a fly ball to deep center field. Fister threw less than 10 pitches in four of the first five innings.
After throwing four innings May 2 for Triple-A Toledo in his final rehabilitation start from a left costochondral strain, Fister, who the Mariners traded to Detroit last season, wasn’t on a specific pitch count Monday. Fister ended up throwing 73 pitches.
Jhonny Peralta singled off Mariners reliever Shawn Kelley to open the seventh inning. Left-hander Charlie Furbush relieved Kelley with two outs in the seventh and allowed a singled to Jackson then walked Dirks to load the bases. Furbush won a battle with Cabrera, who grounded out to third base after a seven-pitch at-bat.
“We had opportunities to break the game open,” Leyland said. “We’re just not getting big hits with guys on base.”
Prince Fielder reached on his second blooper of the night then scored on a broken-bat single by Brennan Boesch in the fourth inning. Iwakuma was able to strike out Ryan Raburn a pitch after Raburn pulled a line drive just foul down the left-field line.
Fielder’s first-inning bloop double down the left-field line drove in Dirks, who had doubled two batters earlier, to put Detroit ahead 1-0.
Steve Delabar (1-0) picked up the win by pitching a scoreless ninth.
Notes: Seattle hit .322 in a three-game sweep of Detroit April 24-26. . Monday’s visit to Seattle started Detroit’s run of 19 of the next 24 games on the road. . Detroit starter Justin Verlander, who will face Seattle on Tuesday, is 3-4 with a 4.44 ERA in his career at Safeco Field. Seattle has won Verlander’s last three starts at Safeco. … The Mariners lead the majors with the most blown leads in a loss (10).
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