video thumbnail

Vargas stymies the Tigers over eight frames

SEATTLE -- Apparently, being the hero once in a three-game series against the Tigers wasn't enough for John Jaso.

Two days after hitting a walk-off sacrifice fly, Jaso came through with the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth, as the Mariners beat the Tigers, 2-1, on Wednesday night at Safeco Field.

With a 1-1 tie entering the eighth, Michael Saunders led off with a pinch-hit double down the right-field line. Chone Figgins bunted him to third to bring up Jaso. With the infield drawn in, Jaso lined a 2-2 pitch just over the outstretched glove of shortstop Jhonny Peralta to score the winning run.

"I think he thrives in those situations. He puts up good ABs," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We've seen that all year long. He gives himself a chance. When he gets behind or gets ahead, he knows what he wants to do, and he's really come through for us time and time again this year, especially in key spots."

"I don't really get more energy from it, or anything like that -- just the way I am, I guess," Jaso said. "I just treat it like any other game, and I've kind of taught myself to do it. I try not to get too high or too low. I just try to keep it as level as possible. If I didn't get it done there, it wouldn't have mattered. I would have waited on my next at-bat."

The run gave the win to Mariners starter Jason Vargas (4-2), who pitched efficiently and effectively through eight innings. He didn't walk a batter and allowed a runner to reach second base in only two innings. He needed just 90 pitches to get through the eight innings, fanning Danny Worth on his final pitch for his sixth strikeout.

"It was good pretty much start to finish," Vargas said. "My fastball was in the strike zone and my changeup was better than it's been in a long time. I feel like when I got that combination, I'm going to be OK."

"He just had a good changeup tonight," said Tigers catcher Gerald Laird, who doubled and scored in the sixth. "It's one of those things where he was moving his fastball in and out and then pulling the string on that changeup. That's his pitch. It makes it tough when he's got that pitch going."

Kyle Seager put the Mariners up first, as he smoked a two-out double off the top of the right-field fence to score Ichiro Suzuki from second. It was Seager's 13th RBI in his past eight games, 10 of which have come with two outs.

The Tigers evened the score in the sixth on the back of three hits. Laird led off the inning by smashing a double to left-center field. After Worth failed to get a bunt down in two attempts, the second baseman softly singled to center, advancing Laird to third.

Austin Jackson followed with a sacrifice fly to center, well deep enough to score Laird without a play at the plate. After allowing another single, Vargas escaped further damage when Seager made a nice play at second on a scorching one-hopper to initiate an inning-ending double play.

The Mariners made a few nice plays in the field, highlighted perhaps by Brendan Ryan in the seventh. Already set up closer to second base than usual with Prince Fielder at the plate, Ryan ranged into shallow center field, snagged a hard-hit ground ball, spun around and fired to first just in time for the out.

"Brendan Ryan had just an unbelievable game at shortstop," Wedge said. "I mean, we talk about it time and time again, that's why we're really working to try to help him get his bat going, because he's just so valuable to us. He's a guy that saves more runs than probably any shortstop in the game, and that was very evident tonight."

The Mariners won their second straight series and picked up their fifth victory in six games against the Tigers this season.

MLB.com Comments