Mariners 14, Tigers 6
DETROIT (AP) _ A bloop double in a game long ago decided was a history-making hit for Seattle’s Alex Rodriguez, as well as a $1 million winner for one lucky Mariners fan.
Rodriguez became the first Seattle player to hit for the cycle in a nine-inning game, and the Mariners homered four times Thursday night in a 14-6 rout of the Detroit Tigers.
Rodriguez, who drove in two runs and scored three, homered in the first, singled in the fourth, tripled in the eighth and doubled in the ninth.
The double was a high flare that fell down the right-field line behind first base. Rodriguez, aware that he needed the double to hit for the cycle, never hesitated going to second.
``It was in and out of my mind,″ Rodriguez said. ``Usually when you try to do something, it doesn’t happen. I was fortunate to hit a jam shot down the line.″
Just as fortunate was a Seattle fan whose name was drawn for the chance to win $1 million if a Mariners player hit for the cycle. The money, which will be paid by several of Seattle’s broadcast sponsors, will go to Pamela Altazan of Cashmere, Wash.
The only other Seattle player to hit for the cycle was Jay Buhner, who did it in a 14-inning game on June 23, 1993.
``I’m excited, but I guess it hasn’t hit me yet,″ Rodriguez said. ``I’m only the second Mariner to do it, and the other is Jay Buhner, who can’t run.″
Buhner also starred Thursday with a three-run homer and RBI double. Dan Wilson and Russ Davis had solo homers.
Rodriguez, the defending AL batting champion, fell a double short of hitting for the cycle May 18 against Baltimore.
``It’s a very tough thing to do,″ Seattle manager Lou Piniella said. ``Usually it’s the triple that’s the hardest, and he got that third. And the double was a thing of beauty, wasn’t it?″
Seattle’s 17-hit attack made it easy for Jeff Fassero (5-2) to take his first win in more than six weeks. He was 0-2 in seven starts since beating Kansas City on April 22.
``It was nice to pitch with that kind of support,″ Fassero said. ``Lou told me the other day I was going to get all my runs this month.″
Fassero gave up three runs and five hits in seven innings. He had lost to Detroit in his previous start last Saturday at Seattle.
``Tonight was easy,″ Fassero said. ``We got three runs right away and I was able to run the ball in and out all night.″
Detroit, which won two out of three in Seattle last weekend, fell to 0-3 against the Mariners at home this season.
``It was just a bad game,″ Tigers manager Buddy Bell said. ``Fassero was good and we didn’t swing the bats well. You just have to kind of forget about this one.″
Felipe Lira (4-3), who had won his previous four decisions, lasted just 3 1-3 innings and gave up six runs and five hits.
``I just couldn’t throw strikes tonight,″ Lira said. ``I was behind in the count to almost everybody.″
Rodriguez started a three-run first with his ninth homer. After Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez walked, Buhner hit an RBI double and Paul Sorrento an RBI grounder.
Seattle made it 7-0 in the fourth on Wilson’s fifth homer, RBI singles by Rodriguez and Griffey and a two-run single by Martinez. Davis hit his seventh homer in the fifth off Juan Bautista, and Wilson increased the lead to 9-0 with an RBI single off John Cummings in the seventh.
Detroit scored three runs in the bottom half on Bobby Higginson’s two-run triple and an RBI grounder by Deivi Cruz.
Buhner homered, Rodriguez added an RBI triple and Martinez singled in a run during Seattle’s five-run eighth.
Raul Casanova had a two-run single as Detroit scored three runs off Norm Charlton in the eighth.
Notes: Mariners rookie right-hander Derek Lowe, a native of nearby Dearborn, Mich., was in search of as many tickets as he could get for his start Friday night against the Tigers. ... Randy Johnson, originally set to start Saturday night, will instead work Sunday’s series finale in Detroit to give him an extra day’s rest. ... Tigers catcher Matt Walbeck, on the disabled list with a broken wrist since April 19, is continuing therapy in Lakeland, Fla., but is not yet playing on a rehab assignment.