DETROIT -- In what was a showcase of starting pitchers for much of Thursday's contest at Comerica Park, Mariners backup catcher Mike Zunino took the spotlight with the decisive double in the 12th inning of a 3-2 victory over the Tigers.
David Price was excellent over eight-plus innings, allowing a solo homer to Kyle Seager in the second at-bat of the game but bearing down from there. Price -- who could be dealt before the non-waiver Trade Deadline -- surrendered the game-tying single to Mark Trumbo in the seventh and Seager ended his day with a double in the ninth, but the Tigers' ace recorded his fourth quality outing in as many starts this month.
Hisashi Iwakuma also did his job for the Mariners, giving up just a two-run double to Victor Martinez in the first inning before settling in to shut down the Tigers through seven innings. Seattle stepped up in extras, as shortstop Chris Taylor hit a sharp single to begin the 12th before Zunino drove him home with a two-bagger down the left-field line. Tom Wilhelmsen recorded the save as Seattle won the last game of a series for just the third time in their last 16 tries.
"That was a tough ballgame," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "You think about coming into this game. The numbers they had against Iwakuma to start with, and they had their big guy on the mound. The odds were against us in this one, and my guys had a pretty gutsy performance today." More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED He loves the lefties: While the Mariners tried to load up their right-handers against Price, Seager didn't seem to have any problem against the southpaw as he hammered the first pitch he saw in the first inning over the right-field wall. Seager has fared well against lefties all year. He's hit six of his 15 homers off southpaws and his .316 batting average (31-for-98) makes him the only left-handed batter in the AL with at least 75 plate appearances with an average over .300 against lefties.
"He's definitely a guy you don't want to wait around on," said Seager, who was 0-for-10 against Price coming into the game. "I've tried that, and it doesn't work. I just had to try to be aggressive and look for something I could handle."
Pouncing early: Detroit didn't waste any time recovering from a 1-0 hole, scoring twice in the first inning against Iwakuma. Martinez plated Ian Kinsler and Yoenis Cespedes with a double to right-center field. That snapped a rough stretch for the designated hitter, who hadn't tallied an extra-base knock since July 17, but it also marked the club's only runs of the day.
"We keep waiting for that step or two forward, and then that third or fourth step to get rolling, but every time you feel like you're on the cusp of something good or something positive happening, we end up losing a game," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Making it look easy: The Tigers' defense delivered several outstanding plays to help make Price's afternoon easier. All-Star shortstop Jose Iglesias threw across his body to retire Robinson Canó to end the first, then one-upped himself five innings later by ranging even farther toward third and firing a bullet to keep the speedy Austin Jackson off the basepaths. In the seventh, designated hitter Nelson Cruz laced a line drive to left field, but Cespedes got a good read and made a leaping catch.
Putting on his own show: While a lot of eyes were on Price with the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline nearing, Iwakuma certainly could be a trade candidate as well. After giving up three straight hits and two runs to open the game, Iwakuma shut out the Tigers on three hits and two walks through the remainder of his seven-inning outing. Iwakuma appeared to be tiring in the seventh after one-out singles by James McCann and Iglesias, but he turned a marvelous double play by snaring a shot back to the mound by Anthony Gose and firing a perfect lead throw to shortstop Taylor coming across second base to keep the score tied at 2. More >
"I don't know if you think I have a bevy of arms down there all named Mariano Rivera. That's not how it works." -- Ausmus, on the Tigers' bullpen, which had been worn thin due to the rotation's recent struggles
"A getaway win is always good -- extra innings even better. It's about time some luck happened [for] us." -- Wilhelmsen
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Thursday marked the sixth time this season Price has tossed a quality start, but has taken a no-decision or a loss. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners:Felix Hernandez (11-5, 2.77 ERA) takes on Toronto on Friday at 7:10 p.m. PT in the opener of a six-game homestand at Safeco Field. Hernandez allowed four hits and one run with eight strikeouts over seven innings in a 4-3 win at Rogers Centre in May and is 6-6 with a 4.53 ERA in 14 career starts vs. the Blue Jays.
Tigers: Right-hander Justin Verlander faces Rick Porcello, his former teammate, as Detroit begins a three-game series at Boston. Verlander has had issues pitching from the stretch and has accumulated a 6.62 ERA in six starts -- all Tigers losses -- this year. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.