DETROIT (AP) — A night after his team allowed 19 runs and lost a star pitcher to injury, James Paxton took the mound for Seattle and performed like an ace.
Paxton struck out nine in seven outstanding innings, and Nelson Cruz and Guillermo Heredia homered to lift the Mariners to an 8-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. It was just what Seattle needed after losing 19-9 to Detroit on Tuesday and putting right-hander Felix Hernandez on the disabled list before Wednesday’s game.
“I want guys to feel confident when I take the mound,” Paxton said. “I think that they know that I’m giving it everything I’ve got when I go out there.”
Paxton (3-0) allowed four hits and a walk in a dominant performance against a Detroit team that had scored 32 runs over its previous two games. He’s held the opposition scoreless in four of his five starts this season, and his ERA now sits at 1.39.
“We really ran into a buzz saw with Paxton,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s always thrown hard, but he’s found a way to rein that in and get more command. He’s hitting 97 (mph) without much effort, and he’s moving the ball in and out. When a pitcher’s doing that, you’ve got to cheat to catch up to him, and that makes his breaking ball even better.”
Daniel Norris (1-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in four-plus innings. It was his second straight game allowing at least four earned runs after he went 21 consecutive starts yielding three or fewer.
Seattle opened the scoring with three runs in the second, including a two-run homer by Heredia that made it 3-0. The Mariners chased Norris in the fifth and scored a run when reliever Shane Greene walked Ben Gamel with the bases loaded. Cruz’s two-run shot made it 6-0 in the sixth.
Paxton was in a bit of a jam in the fourth after Victor Martinez struck out but reached first base on a passed ball. After a single by Justin Upton, Detroit had two on with one out, but the Seattle left-hander struck out John Hicks and James McCann to end the threat.
Paxton fanned the first two Detroit hitters in the fifth as well.
Seattle manager Scott Servais brought a football term to baseball after the game was over.
“Our time of possession — the amount of time we were on offense tonight — was awesome,” Servais said. “That’s a fun game.”
The game took 3 hours, 18 minutes, and it did feel as though the Mariners were batting for a good portion of that. Detroit threw 197 pitches, while Seattle made only 133.
Norris was acquired two seasons ago by the Tigers when they traded David Price to Toronto. Detroit has high hopes for Norris, but he’s regressed over his past couple of starts. “I thought I was past a lot of this, but obviously not,” he said. “There’s still a lot of work I need to do.”
Mariners: Hernandez went on the 10-day DL with right shoulder inflammation, and OF Mitch Haniger joined him because of a strained right oblique.
Tigers: Detroit had been scoring a lot of runs lately, but the Tigers have not been at full strength. 1B Miguel Cabrera (groin), OF J.D. Martinez (foot), SS Jose Iglesias (concussion) and OF JaCoby Jones (lip) are on the DL.
Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (0-2) pitches Thursday in the finale of this three-game series.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (1-2) tries to bounce back after a couple of poor starts that pushed his ERA to 6.04.