Mariners start road trip with win in Detroit

Michael Saunders knocked in three runs and the Seattle Mariners downed the Detroit Tigers, 7-4, in the opener of a three-game set at Comerica Park,

Ichiro Suzuki added three hits and two runs scored, while Kyle Seager finished with two hits, an RBI and two runs scored for the Mariners, who snapped a four-game slide.

Jason Vargas (3-1) allowed four runs on six hits and a walk through six innings for the win. Brandon League tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his sixth save of the year.

"Vargas did a nice job today. I thought he controlled the ball game real well," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "But the offense really stepped up for us tonight."

Alex Avila hit a two-run homer and Miguel Cabrera had a solo shot in Detroit's fourth loss in five games.

Max Scherzer (1-2) was touched for five runs on 10 hits and two walks to suffer the loss.

"His command just wasn't good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said about Scherzer. "He had over 100 pitches in five innings and that's usually a disaster."

The Mariners jumped out to an early lead after Chone Figgins led off the game with a walk, moved to third on Dustin Ackley's single and came home two batters later when Jesus Montero pulled a base hit through the left side.

Seattle loaded the bases with two outs when Cabrera made a diving stop of an Alex Liddi grounder to the left side of the infield but dropped the ball as he tried to transfer it for the throw. Scherzer, though, kept it a one-run game by fanning Saunders with a high fastball.

The Mariners added to their lead in the third inning when Ackley led off the frame with a walk, advanced to second on Suzuki's infield single and crossed the plate on a Seager base hit to center field.

After Liddi struck out, Saunders smacked a double into the left-center field gap to plate Suzuki and Seager, giving Seattle a 4-0 advantage.

Detroit got on the board in the bottom of the third after Brandon Inge hit a double to deep center field that Saunders tracked down but had the ball kick off the heel of his glove. Brennan Boesch brought Inge home with a bloop single into shallow center field.

Avila then hammered a two-run homer over the center field wall in the fourth to bring the Tigers within 4-3.

But Seager and Liddi led off the fifth with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners and after Saunders struck out, Miguel Olivo hit a grounder to short that scored Seager and gave Seattle back a little cushion.

Detroit got the run back in the home fifth on Cabrera's solo shot into the left field bleachers, but the Mariners answered with Liddi's blast to left- center field in the seventh to make it a 6-4 game.

After the Tigers stranded the tying runs on second and third in the eighth inning when Tom Wilhelmsen fanned Avila, Seattle added a run in the ninth on Saunders' double off the right-field wall that brought home Suzuki.

Pinch-runner Casper Wells was thrown out at home while trying to score from first base on the play, but that run would not be necessary as League worked around a leadoff walk by pinch-hitter Don Kelly in the ninth by striking out Ramon Santiago before inducing consecutive groundouts by Austin Jackson and Boesch to end the game.

Game Notes

Detroit fell to 6-2 on the year when facing a left-handed starting pitcher...Cabrera's home run gave him 997 career RBI...The Mariners went 6- for-19 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base...The Tigers hit 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven.