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Live Tigers blog: Tigers drop series, fall 2-1 to M's

Al Willman
The Detroit News

The Tigers and Mariners, after combining to score 36 runs in the first two games of their three-game series in Detroit, played in a pitcher's duel on Thursday afternoon, with the Mariners winning 2-1.

After a 45-minute rain delay before the game, both teams were scoreless through five.

The Mariners scored an unearned run on Justin Verlander in the top of the sixth, after a two-base error from Tyler Collins (3-for-3, two doubles, single, walk) put Nelson Cruz on second. Cruz scored on a single from Kyle Seager to make it 1-0.

Collins doubled in the bottom of the sixth and scored on a Robinson Cano fielding error that allowed Victor Martinez to reach safely.

The Mariners (10-13) retook the lead in the top of the ninth.

After Francisco Rodriguez gave up a double to Seager, Ben Gamel singled in Seager and took second on an errant throw home from Collins.

The Tigers (11-10) have a three-game weekend series against the White Sox. Former Tiger Mike Pelfrey (0-1, 4.15 ERA) will go for the White Sox. Matthew Boyd (2-0, 1.65 ERA) will go for the Tigers.

M's retake lead in 9th

The Mariners retook the lead in the top of the ninth inning.

After Francisco Rodriguez struck out Nelson Cruz on three pitches, he gave up a stand-up double to Kyle Seager. Ben Gamel singled in Seager, before taking second on an errant throw home from Tyler Collins.

Going to the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers are down 2-1. They'll send Justin Upton, Alex Avila and Mikie Mahtook to the plate.

Collins on base for 4th time, stranded

Tyler Collins (3-for-3, two doubles, single) got on base for the fourth time in the bottom of the eighth inning, when he walked on four pitches from Tony Zych with one out.

But Collins was stranded. The next batter, Nicholas Castellanos, flew out to the warning track in left field before Victor Martinez grounded out into the shift.

After eight, the Tigers and Mariners are still tied, 1-1.

Tigers bullpen throws perfect 8th

With the well-documented struggles from the Tigers bullpen, any scoreless inning is notable.

Such was the case for the Tigers in the top of the eighth with left-hander Justin Wilson's perfect frame.

Wilson struck out the side, getting Jean Segura looking on a gifted strike three -- which was outside -- and fanning Taylor Motter and Robinson Cano to end the half inning.

Going to the bottom of the eighth, it's still 1-1.

Tigers go quietly in 7th

The Tigers went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh against a pair of Mariners relievers.

Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski, who replaced starter Hisashi Iwakuma to get the final out of the sixth, got the first out of the seventh before giving way to right-hander Tony Zych -- who got the final two outs of the inning.

After 7, the game is still tied at 1.

7th-Inning Stretch: Tigers 1, M's 1

For the second straight inning, Tyler Collins made things interesting defensively.

Guillermo Heredia hit a bloop single to shallow right-center field, but tried to stretch it into a double, perhaps in part because of Collins' dubious fielding.

But Collins took the ball and rifled it to Jose Iglesias covering second, who appeared to tag Heredia out.

After a lengthy review, in which it looked like Heredia was safe, the call was upheld.

Justin Verlander struck out the next two batters -- his seventh and eighth of the game -- to get out of the inning unscathed.

At the seventh-inning stretch, the Tigers and Mariners are tied at 1.

Tigers tie game in 6th

Tyler Collins giveth, he taketh away and then he giveth back again.

After Collins' defensive blunders cost the Tigers a run in the top of the sixth inning, his stand-up double -- that should've been a triple -- off the wall in right-center field put a runner in scoring position. The hit was his third in as many at-bats, and only the third of the game for the Tigers.

Collins scored, tying the game at 1, when Robinson Cano booted a ground ball from Victor Martinez.

M's get on board in 6th

What Tyler Collins has done for the Tigers offensively, albeit little, he made up for with a defensive blunder in the top of the sixth inning.

On a fly ball from Nelson Cruz, right fielder Jim Adduci appeared to have tracked the ball to his glove. But Collins, not appearing to be paying any attention to Adduci, collided with the right fielder, causing him to drop the catch. Adduci, obviously shaken up, attempted to get the ball back to the infield, but Cruz was already at second base.

The next batter, Kyle Seager, singled in Cruz. Collins attempted to make a play at the plate, but three-hopped the throw to a diving Jose Iglesias near the pitcher's mound.

Going to the bottom of the sixth, the Mariners have a 1-0 lead.

Tigers go quietly in 5th

The other eight Tiger hitters not named Tyler Collins seem to be having trouble figuring out Mariners starter Hisahi Iwakuma.

Through five innings, Collins has both hits for the Tigers. The other eight have combined for a walk and a hit batter -- Alex Avila in the bottom of the fourth and Nick Castellanos was hit by a pitch in the first..

After five complete, the game is scoreless.

Verlander has 6 K's through 5

Justin Verlander appears to have left his troublesome first two starts behind him.

Verlander is through his five scoreless innings of work with three hits, two walks and six strikeouts.

For his part, Hisashi Iwakuma has allowed two hits and a walk, and has struck out two for the Mariners in four innings.

Going to the bottom of the fifth, there is no score.

Avila walks, left at first in 4th

The Tigers have three baserunners through four innings in what is turning out to be a pitcher's duel downtown.

Hisashi Iwakuma walked Alex Avila with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, but Avila was stranded to end the inning.

The walk was the first of the game for Iwakuma, while Justin Verlander has two for the Tigers.

After four, the game remains scoreless.

Verlander pitching well so far

Justin Verlander is pitching well in his four innings of work. He's scattered two hits, walked two and struck out four in the scoreless game.

The second hit off of Verlander was a two-out single from Ben Gamel, who was stranded to end the half inning.

Collins picks up second hit

If you had Tyler Collins picking up the only two hits for the Tigers through three innings, you might want to go get a scratch-off or two after the game.

If you had the left-handed batter's hits going to the opposite field, go to the casino.

Collins, with his two-out stand-up double in the gap, gave the Tigers that elusive second hit on right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma.

But Collins was stranded to end the inning.

After three, the Tigers and Mariners are scoreless.

Verlander walks 2, strands them in 3rd

Justin Verlander walked a pair of runners in the top of the third inning, but stranded both to keep the game scoreless.

He put Carlos Ruiz on to start the inning, before walking Taylor Motter three batters later.

In between, Verlander got his fourth swinging strikeout -- fanning Jarrod Dyson.

The Tigers will send recently-activated shortstop Jose Iglesias, Ian Kinsler and Tyler Collins to the plate in the bottom of the third.

Iwakuma retires Tigers in order in 2nd

The Tigers went down in order in the bottom of the second inning.

After Alex Avila grounded out to shortstop, Jim Adduci hit into a loud out -- flying out to straightaway center field on a ball that went nearly 400 feet. James McCann then flew out to right field to end the inning.

After two, neither team has scored.

Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander works in the first inning Thursday against the Mariners at Comerica Park.

Tigers nemesis stranded at third

There are a small handful of players that invoke an instant negative reaction in Tigers fans.

Nelson Cruz is in the top-three, one could argue.

Cruz hit a stand-up double off the wall in left-center field to lead off the second inning. Kyle Seager then moved Cruz to third on a fielder's choice. But that's where Cruz stayed, after Justin Verlander got Ben Gamel to strike out swinging and Guillermo Heredia hit a pop fly to first baseman Alex Avila in foul territory.

Going to the bottom of the second, there is no score.

Tigers leave pair on in 1st

The Tigers left two on, after Tyler Collins hit an opposite field single and Nick Castellanos was hit in the left elbow -- both with one out.

The second out came rather impressively, when Victor Martinez hit a fly ball in foul territory in shallow left field. Mariners left fielder Guillermo Heredia made a sliding catch on the run, retiring Martinez.

Justin Upton grounded out to second base to end the inning and the threat.

After one inning, the game remains scoreless.

Verlander works 1-2-3 1st

Justin Verlander relied on his fastball almost exclusively in his 1-2-3 top of the first inning.

After Jean Segura sent Verlander's first pitch to the warning track in left field, the veteran right-hander settled in, striking Taylor Motter and Robinson Cano swinging.

Of Verlander's 16 pitches, 14 were fastballs.

Going to the bottom of the first, the game is scoreless.

Live blog: Tigers vs. Mariners

Justin Verlander hasn't been very Justin Verlander-like in his past two starts.

He'll get a chance to remedy that Thursday, weather permitting.

Verlander takes the mound against the Mariners in the finale of a three-game series at Comerica Park. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m., but Mother Nature is doing her best to throw a monkey wrench in those plans. The start is being delayed by rain, with the start pushed back to 1:55 p.m.

When and if the Tigers get under way, Verlander will be looking to bounce back from a pair of rough outings. He allowed nine earned runs on 11 hits in just four innings in a loss April 15 to the Indians, then walked six in just five innings in a loss April 21 to the Twins.

He's 1-2 on the season, with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. His record is pretty much on track with his career in March and April, where he's 20-22 with a 4.08 ERA.

The Tigers opened the series Tuesday with a 19-9 rout, making it back-to-back games in which they scored in double digits. Mariners lefty James Paxton put a halt to that Wednesday night, blanking the Tigers over seven innings as the Mariners rolled, 8-0.

The Tigers face Hisashi Iwakuma (0-2, 5.31 ERA) on Thursday.

MARINERS AT TIGERS

First pitch: 1:10 p.m. Thursday, Comerica Park, Detroit

TV/radio: FSD, MLB/97.1

Records: Tigers are 11-9, and in a three-way tie for first place in the American League Central Division with the Indians and White Sox. The Mariners are 9-13, fourth in the AL West, 5.5 games behind the Astros.

MARINERS LINEUP

1. Jean Segura, SS

2. Taylor Motter, 1B

3. Robinson Cano, 2B

4. Nelson Cruz, DH

5. Kyle Seager, 3B

6. Ben Gamel, RF

7. Guillermo Heredia, LF

8. Carlos Ruiz, C

9. Jarrod Dyson, CF

SP: Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP

TIGERS LINEUP

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Tyler Collins, CF

3. Nick Castellanos, 3B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Justin Upton, LF

6. Alex Avila, C

7. Jim Adduci, RF

8. James McCann, C

9. Jose Iglesias, SS

SP: Justin Verlander, RHP