Seattle — Whether it comes in the last at-bat, or in a late inning, catcher Mike Zunino said there is stern belief in the Seattle Mariners dugout that a decisive rally will happen.
And it did Friday night with a five-run seventh inning.
Mitch Haniger’s RBI double capped the comeback as Seattle rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
“This one was exciting,” Zunino said. “There’s been a fun sense around this club that we never feel we are out of a game. Obviously it is a big blow losing Robbie (Cano), but we still feel very confident in our lineup.”
Even when it is bottled up by six dominant innings by Detroit right-hander Michael Fulmer, who at one point retired 13 Mariners in a row.
Trailing 4-0 entering the seventh, the Mariners coaxed four walks in their first six at-bats — including back-to-back walks by Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager off Fulmer to start the inning.
“I still felt good in the seventh,” said Fulmer, who had allowed just two hits while striking out seven. “I just got a little picky to Cruz and Seager.”
Two batters later, Ben Gamel’s ground ball squirted past second baseman Dixon Machado into center field for a two-run single, ending Fulmer’s night.
“I tell you what, (Fulmer) had some great stuff today, and he was commanding it well early,” Zunino said. “Sometimes you just have to wait him out and we did a good job of that the third time through (the lineup).”
Dee Gordon’s sacrifice fly to right field cut Detroit’s lead to 4-3 with two outs. Jean Segura followed with a run-scoring single on a grounder up the middle off reliever Warwick Saupold, scoring Zunino to tie the game at 4-all.
Haniger gave the Mariners their first lead, 5-4, by lining Saupold’s curve ball down the left field line, scoring Guillermo Heredia.
“We’ve talked a lot here recently about getting back to controlling the strike zone,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Some of the guys . were getting a little too aggressive and not letting the game come to them. I saw some really good signs.”
Dan Altavilla (3-2) picked up the win in relief, and closer Edwin Diaz notched his A.L.-leading 15th save. Reliever Buck Farmer (0-2) took the loss, walking the two batters he faced.
It was the fifth time Seattle had scored a season-high five runs in an inning. The last time came April 28 in a 12-4 victory at Cleveland.
Detroit tallied three runs in the first inning off Felix Hernandez, all with two outs. John Hicks started it with a two-run double in the left-center gap, and Nico Goodrum followed with an RBI double to the center-field wall.
The Tigers added an unearned run off Hernandez in the fifth on Victor Martinez’s run-scoring double over Gamel’s head in left field to make it 4-0.