Seattle at Detroit

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Seattle (67-86)100030000490
Detroit (89-64) «20100020x590

First-place Tigers nip M's behind Fielder's heroics

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- Prince Fielder and the Detroit Tigers are hungry for another division title.

The slugging first baseman added some levity to Thursday's 5-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners when he took a chip from a fan sitting in the first row and ate it after unsuccessfully chasing a foul ball. Then Fielder scored the go-ahead run a couple innings later, sliding home in the seventh on a close play at the plate.

"It was pretty close," Fielder said. "I was just faster, I guess."

Fielder was thrown out at home on a similar play to end a game against Kansas City last weekend.

Detroit trailed 4-3 after Seattle's Dustin Ackley hit a three-run homer in the fifth, but Fielder's RBI single in the seventh tied it. Then he scored from first when Victor Martinez doubled off Charlie Furbush (2-6).

In the top of the fifth, Fielder chased after a foul ball that dropped near the stands. Before returning to his position, he took what looked like a nacho from one of the fans near the front and ate it, while receiving a pat on the back from another fan.

"Thought about dipping in the cheese, but he might double dip," Fielder joked. "I don't think he even noticed it."

Detroit pushed its AL Central lead to six games. Second-place Cleveland hosted Houston on Thursday night.

Torii Hunter homered for the Tigers. Doug Fister (13-9) struck out 10 in 7 2/3 innings. Drew Smyly got one out, and Joaquin Benoit pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 22 chances.

Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias left after being hit on the left hand by a pitch in the sixth inning. X-rays were negative.

"The good thing is it's not broken. It's really painful," Iglesias said. "I got lucky."

Detroit acquired Iglesias from Boston in a trade shortly before shortstop Jhonny Peralta was suspended as part of Major League Baseball's investigation into Biogenesis of America, a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Peralta is eligible to return Sept. 27, but the Tigers plan to keep Iglesias at shortstop and work out Peralta in the outfield.

Fielder doubled in the third and fifth. After Hunter led off the Detroit seventh with a double and went to third on Miguel Cabrera's flyout, Fielder hit a single to make it 4-all.

Martinez, who had already been intentionally walked twice, followed with his second double of the game -- to the corner in left field. Fielder scored, although the Mariners argued the call.

"It was a bang-bang play at the plate," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "[Catcher Mike Zunino] did a great job of getting the throw and making it close."

Martinez is hitting .367 since the All-Star break.

"I've known him a long time, and I know all the ways he can beat you, "Wedge said. "The last time, there wasn't anywhere to put him because Prince was on first, and he did what he's done for years. He's just a great hitter."

Seattle scored a run in the first on an RBI single by Raul Ibanez. Hunter tied it in the bottom half with a solo shot, and Martinez added an RBI double later in the inning.

Seattle intentionally walked Martinez in the third with men on second and third, but starter James Paxton walked Omar Infante on four pitches to force in a run and make it 3-1.

Fister allowed four runs and nine hits with one walk. His only major mistake was a pitch to Ackley in the fifth that the Seattle outfielder hit over the wall in right for his fourth homer of the year.

Paxton allowed three runs and five hits in five innings.

Detroit has three games left on this homestand, and the Tigers could clinch a third straight AL Central title as early as Saturday if enough results fall into place.

"We definitely want to clinch over here. We definitely want to get it done in front of our great fans. They've been up here with us all year long," Martinez said. "They really deserve seeing the celebration here."

Notes

Martinez, normally Detroit's DH, started at catcher for the third time this season. ... Tigers pitchers have 1,323 strikeouts, five more than the previous team record set last year. ... Detroit hosts the Chicago White Sox on Friday night. Tigers RHP Max Scherzer (19-3) faces RHP Andre Rienzo (2-2). Seattle RHP Erasmo Ramirez (5-2) faces Los Angeles Angels RHP Jered Weaver (10-8).

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Prince Fielder, who has  three hits in the game, scores the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning on a close play at the plate. (USATSI)
Prince Fielder, who has three hits in the game, scores the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning on a close play at the plate. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Seattle

D. Ackley
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Detroit

P. Fielder
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Seattle Mariners
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Dustin Ackley, CF-1B5113020 .251
Michael Saunders, RF4010010 .237
Kyle Seager, 3B4120001 .268
Kendrys Morales, DH4010001 .280
Raul Ibanez, LF4011021 .252
Justin Smoak, 1B3000122 .246
   Abraham Almonte, PR-CF0000000 .288
Nick Franklin, 2B4010031 .216
Mike Zunino, C3110011 .215
   a-Endy Chavez, PH1000000 .268
Carlos Triunfel, SS3110011 .128
   b-Franklin Gutierrez, PH1000000 .260
James Paxton, P0000000 .000
   Tom Wilhelmsen, P0000000 .000
   Charlie Furbush, P0000000 .000
   Yoervis Medina, P0000000 .000
Totals36494112  
a-grounded out for Zunino in the 9th
b-popped out for Triunfel in the 9th
Batting
2B - Nick Franklin (18, Fister)
HR - Dustin Ackley (4, Fister)
RBI - Dustin Ackley 3 (30), Raul Ibanez (64)
2-OUT RBI - Raul Ibanez (23)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Seager-Smoak
Seattle Mariners
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
James Paxton 5533431 2.12
Tom Wilhelmsen (H,2) 1.1111100 4.07
Charlie Furbush (L,2-6; BS,5) 1311020 3.48
Yoervis Medina 0.2000010 2.92
IBB - Martinez by James Paxton
HBP - Iglesias (by Tom Wilhelmsen)
Pitches-Strikes - James Paxton 95-56, Tom Wilhelmsen 21-11, Charlie Furbush 22-15, Yoervis Medina 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James Paxton 7-5, Tom Wilhelmsen 2-1
Batters Faced - James Paxton 24, Tom Wilhelmsen 6, Charlie Furbush 6, Yoervis Medina 2
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Austin Jackson, CF5000011 .273
Torii Hunter, RF5221020 .295
Miguel Cabrera, DH3110101 .347
Prince Fielder, 1B4231001 .283
Victor Martinez, C2022200 .301
   Hernan Perez, PR0000000 .197
   Alex Avila, C0000000 .222
Omar Infante, 2B3011103 .315
Matt Tuiasosopo, LF2000013 .260
   a-Andy Dirks, PH-LF2000012 .256
Ramon Santiago, 3B-SS3000112 .226
Jose Iglesias, SS2000000 .310
   Don Kelly, PR-3B1000000 .235
Doug Fister, P0000000 .400
   Drew Smyly, P0000000 .000
   Joaquin Benoit, P0000000 .000
Totals3259556  
a-grounded out for Tuiasosopo in the 6th
Batting
2B - Torii Hunter (34, Wilhelmsen), Prince Fielder 2 (35, Paxton), Victor Martinez 2 (33, Paxton)
HR - Torii Hunter (17, Paxton)
RBI - Torii Hunter (78), Prince Fielder (103), Victor Martinez 2 (78), Omar Infante (48)
2-OUT RBI - Victor Martinez (29), Omar Infante (22)
Team LOB - 9
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Doug Fister (W,13-9) 7.29441101 3.71
Drew Smyly (H,18) 0.1000010 2.43
Joaquin Benoit (S,22) 1000010 1.91
Pitches-Strikes - Doug Fister 108-76, Drew Smyly 5-3, Joaquin Benoit 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Doug Fister 10-3, Joaquin Benoit 1-1
Batters Faced - Doug Fister 33, Drew Smyly 1, Joaquin Benoit 3
Game Information
Attendance - 38431
Game Time - 2:43
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Ron Kulpa, First Base - Chris Guccione, Second Base - Tom Hallion, Third Base - Phil Cuzzi