Kyle Seager rescued the Mariners with a walk-off double Tuesday night that produced a 5-4 victory over Detroit in 10 innings.
Seager’s double in a left-on-left matchup against reliever Justin Wilson easily scored pinch-runner Tyler Smith from second base.
It came after Dan Altavilla threw away a two-run lead in the eighth inning, and after the Mariners squandered scoring chances in the eighth and ninth innings. In other words, this is a game that would have stung it it had slipped away.
Seager’s double turned those late stumbles into footnotes.
It also overshadowed an impressive bounce-back effort from lefty Ariel Miranda, who was in line for a victory before Altavilla let the Tigers back into the game.
Miranda wobbled early. He opened the game by serving up a homer to Ian Kinsler. After the Mariners answered with Nelson Cruz’s two-run double, Miranda began the second inning by giving up a homer to Justin Upton.
"Obviously, things weren’t going well at the start," Miranda said. "I made some bad pitches, and they made solid contact. But after that, I was able to make the adjustments and fix things."
Miranda permitted just those two runs in seven innings against the Tigers’ all-right-handed lineup. He retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced; the only exception was Mike Mahtook, who reached on a Seager error.
"He really settled in," manager Scott Servais said. "We’ve seen him do that often here. Get all of his pitches working. They were a little shaky early on, but he righted the ship."
Three takeaways from Tuesday’s victory:
***Gamel keeps raking: Left fielder Ben Gamel went 3-for-5 in raising his average to .351. He has a 12-game hitting streak and has hits in 22 of his last 23 games with a .424 average over that span.
Gamel would be leading the American League in batting if he had 10 more plate appearances. The current leader in Chicago outfielder Avisail Garcia at .339.
***Just one bad pitch?: Altavilla struck out the side in the eighth inning, including Miguel Cabrera and Justin Upton. Servais said Altavilla made just one bad pitch: a 98-mph fastball on a tee that J.D. Martinez turned into tying run.
But…Altavilla started the inning with a four-pitch walk to Ian Kinsler. All four pitches were four-seam fastballs. Altavilla then ignored Kinsler on the bases, and Kinsler stole second and had third stolen when Altavilla bounced a wild pitch.
Kinsler scored all the way around from second. Then came the arrow-straight fastball that Martinez drove over the wall — and the game was tied.
Altavilla gave up five runs in one inning Saturday at Texas, which permitted the Rangers to turn a one-run lead into a six-run cushion. He’s on thin ice. Or should be. Emilio Pagan is eligible to return at any point from Triple-A Tacoma.
***Rotation issues: Coming out of the weekend, it appeared Sam Gaviglio and Christian Bergman were each headed back to Tacoma because Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma were each poised to return from the disabled list.
Then Iwakuma turned in a disappointing effort Monday for the Rainiers, and club officials chose to delay his return to active duty. Iwakuma will make at least one more rehab start.
That means either Gaviglio or Bergman are about to get a reprieve and start Saturday against Houston.
Club officials are debating the choice. Both entered the rotation as replacement parts in early May, and each has pitched well more often than not. Even so, Gaviglio has the better numbers because he’s been able to avoid the big inning.
That positions Gaviglio as the likelier choice.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners