DETROIT - Detroit's offensive explosion couldn't last forever, and the Tigers finally met their match on Wednesday in Seattle Mariners lefty James Paxton.
The Tigers will try to get the bats going again and win the series when they host the Mariners in the rubber match on Thursday.
Detroit knocked off Minnesota 13-4 on Sunday and did even better in the series opener against Seattle, scoring its most runs since 2008 and recording its most hits since Sept. 2013 with 24 in a 19-9 rout, all without former MVP Miguel Cabrera (groin) in the lineup.
But the Mariners, who have enjoyed their own surge offensively with a total of 28 runs in their last three games, got a better effort on the mound on Wednesday from Paxton and managed to even the series while improving their road record to 3-10.
Seattle (9-13), which heads to Cleveland on Friday to continue the 10-game trip, is looking at a near future without ace Felix Hernandez (shoulder) and leading hitter Mitch Haniger (oblique), who were both placed on the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday. The Tigers will send ace Justin Verlander to the mound opposite Mariners righty Hisashi Iwakuma on Thursday.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, ROOT (Seattle), FSN Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners RH Hisashi Iwakuma (0-2, 5.31 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Justin Verlander (1-2, 6.04)
Iwakuma is trying to find some consistency after allowing three runs in 12 innings over his first two outings and nine runs in 8 1/3 frames in the last two. The Japan native issued four walks in 5 1/3 frames at Oakland on Friday and yielded a pair of home runs, raising his total to six homers allowed in 20 1/3 innings. Iwakuma is 2-2 with a 3.47 ERA in eight career games -- seven starts -- against Detroit with nine home runs allowed in 46 2/3 innings.
Verlander is going through similar struggles in the first month and surrendered a total of two earned runs over 13 1/3 innings in his first two turns before falling off in his last two. The former MVP was rocked for nine runs and 11 hits in four innings at Cleveland on April 15 and could not find the strike zone while issuing six walks in five frames of a loss at Minnesota on Friday. Verlander did not factor in the decision in either of his two starts against Seattle last season despite allowing three runs in 14 total innings.
1. Mariners DH Nelson Cruz is 7-for-12 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in his last three games.
2. Detroit RHP Anibal Sanchez allowed 26 hits and 21 runs - 16 earned - in 14 2/3 innings this season.
3. Seattle rookie OF Ben Gamel went 0-for-4 after being recalled on Wednesday and starting in place of Haniger in RF.
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