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Published: Saturday, 7/5/2008

Tigers come up short against M's

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Detroit catcher Ivan Rodriguez leaves the dugout with his equipment after being ejected by home umpire Brian Knight for arguing in the ninth inning after striking out. Detroit catcher Ivan Rodriguez leaves the dugout with his equipment after being ejected by home umpire Brian Knight for arguing in the ninth inning after striking out.
KEVIN P. CASEY / AP Enlarge

SEATTLE - Standing out in the bullpen, Seattle reliever Sean Green noticed Erik Bedard's pitch count quickly getting closer to 100 and knew he needed to be ready, even if it was just the fifth inning.

Bedard is earning a reputation for rarely throwing beyond 100 pitches.

Fortunately for the Mariners, Green and Brandon Morrow were outstanding in finishing off what Bedard started.

Green and Morrow combined for four scoreless innings of relief, and Raul Ibanez's tiebreaking homer in the fourth was enough offense in Seattle's 4-1 win over the Detroit Tigers yesterday afternoon.

Ibanez's 10th homer of the season clanged off the windows of a restaurant in right field to snap a 1-all tie, and Jose Lopez added a two-run double in the eighth off Detroit starter Kenny Rogers, as Seattle won for the eighth time in 11 games.

Green threw a season-high 22/3 innings, serving as the perfect bridge between Bedard and Morrow, who retired the final four batters for his sixth save.

"He's been really good from the second or third week of April to the present time," Seattle manager Jim Riggleman said of Green. "He's been very durable, he's been very effective and today was one of his guttier performances."

The versatility Green brings has been fully displayed this season. Sometimes he's asked to face just one batter. Other times, like yesterday, he's called upon for multiple innings of work. It was Green's 43rd appearance, tops in the American League.

"It's something I've kind of adapted to," Green said of his different uses. "It's fun."

Green started the sixth when Riggleman decided to begin the inning with a right-hander, instead of sending out Bedard. It was the sixth consecutive start where Bedard has checked out before reaching 100, three times leaving with 99 exactly, including yesterday.

Bedard impressed Detroit manager Jim Leyland, who noted that the left-hander was "wild enough to be effective." But Seattle catcher Jamie Burke said as Bedard reached 90 or so pitches, there was a noticeable change.

Bedard, who gave up one run and five hits with six strikeouts, walked away from media members at his locker after the game and refused to return.

"He starts cutting the ball off a little bit too much," Burke said. "You can see it the way the ball coming in on the plate and that's when you can tell he's starting to get pretty tired."

Bedard (6-4) has not thrown more than 100 pitches since May 28, when he went seven innings in a 1-0 win over Boston. He threw 110 pitches in that game, his season high, and hasn't lasted beyond six innings since.

"Erik did a great job and [Detroit] makes you throw a lot of pitches," Riggleman said. "They just forced him into a very laboring five innings."

Rogers (6-6) managed his pitch count, but lost for just the second time since May 15. Rogers was one out from his first complete game since May 14, 2005, before running into trouble in the eighth. Burke led off with a single and Rogers hit Ichiro Suzuki with two outs on a pitch he said slipped. Lopez capitalized with a double to deep right-center and a walk to Ibanez finally ended Rogers' day.

Rogers gave up four runs and six hits, retiring the Mariners in order in five of eight innings.

"The big thing was me hitting Ichiro and putting us in a bind," Rogers said.

Miguel Cabrera hit his 12th homer of the season for Detroit, a solo shot in the second that sneaked just inside the left-field foul pole. Otherwise, the Tigers offense was punchless. Detroit's best chance came in the fourth when Bedard loaded the bases with three walks, but escaped by striking out Ryan Raburn to end the inning. Curtis Granderson doubled to lead off the fourth and never moved from second.

The Tigers also had two runners on with one out in the seventh against Green, but a pair of grounders ended the threat.

"We had some chances and couldn't get a big hit," Leyland said.

Seattle got its first run from an unlikely trio in the third, after Rogers rolled through the difficult part of the Mariners order. Burke, whose last start was June 14, lined a leadoff double into the right-field corner. Willie Bloomquist then reached well off the plate and dumped a single into right center, and Yuniesky Betancourt followed with a fly ball deep enough for Burke to score from third.

Ibanez then followed the next inning, jumping on a 3-2 fastball from Rogers and hitting it 414-feet for just his second home run since June 1.

NOTES: Tigers' C Ivan Rodriguez was ejected by home plate umpire Brian Knight in the top of the ninth for arguing after he struck out to start the inning. ... The Tigers failed to score more than one run for Rogers for the fifth time in his 18 starts.

Tigers 8, Mariners 4

SEATTLE - Justin Verlander threw six strong innings, Michael Hollimon hit his first big league home run and the Detroit Tigers hung on to beat the Seattle Mariners.

Matt Joyce, promoted from Triple-A Toledo on May 5 and recalled Sunday, had a pair of doubles among his career-high four hits. Ivan Rodriguez added three RBIs as the Tigers pounded out 15 total hits.

The hard-throwing Verlander allowed two runs on eight hits to win for the sixth time in seven career starts against Seattle. After starting the season in a slump, Verlander (5-9) hasn't lost since June 6.

Carlos Silva, who signed a four-year, $48 million free agent deal in the offseason, lost for the 10th time in 18 starts. He's been at his worst against the Tigers, allowing 17 runs in 92/3 innings covering three starts.

Ichiro Suzuki had three hits for the second straight game to reach 1,700 for his career, one of 30 active players to eclipse that mark. He's hitting .516 over his last seven games.

Suzuki opened with a single to right, then cruised to third when Verlander tried to pick him off but wound up throwing the ball down the first base line. Suzuki eventually came home on Jose Lopez's single to left.

The Tigers responded in the third on Placido Polanco's run-scoring single, but the Mariners jumped ahead again in their half of the inning. Lopez opened with a double into the left-field corner, and after moving up on Raul Ibanez's grounder came home when Jose Vidro checked his swing and knocked a slow roller toward third that worked out like a squeeze play.

The Tigers tied it again in the fourth on Rodriguez's RBI single, then took the lead in the fifth with three-runs off Silva (4-10).

Curtis Granderson opened with a triple into the left-center gap and scored on Carlos Guillen's infielder grounder.

Joyce and Gary Sheffield added RBI singles to make it 5-2.

Hollimon, called up on June 6, hit his milestone homer into the center-field seats on a 0-1 pitch from Silva in the sixth, and Rodriguez added a two-out, two-run single in the ninth.

Vidro and Adrian Beltre each drove in runs to chase Todd Jones in the ninth.

Fernando Rodney entered and retired Jeff Clement on a fly to left for his first save in two opportunities.



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