Mariners 9, Tigers 3
Aug. 04, 1996
DETROIT (AP) _ Jay Buhner hopes reaching one career milestone Sunday means there's a bigger one he can pass down the road.
Buhner hit his 200th career homer and the Seattle Mariners beat Detroit 9-3, stopping the Tigers' six-game winning streak.
``I've got my sights set more on 300 than 200, but you've got to get to 200 before 300,'' Buhner said. ``It's nice. It means I've put up some pretty consistent numbers.''
Buhner and Alex Rodriguez drove in three runs each as the Mariners won the finale of the three-game series and headed home to open a nine-game homestand Tuesday against Cleveland.
``That was a nice way to go back home,'' said Mariners manager Lou Piniella, whose club is chasing Texas in the AL West.
That chase was hampered with two losses at Detroit, where the Mariners were just 2-4 this season.
``Detroit's playing better,'' Piniella said. ``Let's hope they continue. Texas is coming in here next.''
Bob Wolcott (7-8) won for the first time in four starts, allowing two runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings with six strikeouts and a walk.
``Bobby did a nice job for five innings,'' Piniella said. ``You can see he's pitching with more confidence. The next hurdle is to get him past the sixth or seventh inning.''
C.J. Nitkowski (2-3) gave up five runs _ four earned _ and seven hits in five innings, struck out six and walked two.
``Besides the ball hit by Buhner, I felt good enough to win,'' Nitkowski said. ``But I didn't do the things I had to do to win. I think today I made the most quality pitches I've made all year.''
Tiger manager Buddy Bell agreed, saying ``C.J., other than the first inning, pitched pretty good.
``He tries to make the perfect pitch too much and tries to be too fine,'' Bell said. ``He just has to rely more on his stuff.''
Detroit, which has won eight of 11, had been on its longest winning streak since Aug. 21-28, 1993.
``We didn't take advantage of a few of our chances early, but you're going to have days like this,'' Bell said. ``If they come every once in a while it's OK, but not every day like it was for us earlier.''
After Ken Griffey Jr. singled with two outs in the first, Buhner hit his 31st homer, a shot to the upper deck in left.
Buhner added an RBI single in the third, but Travis Fryman hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom half. The Mariners opened a 5-1 lead in the fifth when Rich Amaral tripled, and Rodriguez and Jeff Manto hit RBI singles.
``For us to come out and score some runs early and add on, it was a big day for us,'' Buhner said. ``Especially after the last two games.''
Rodriguez hit an RBI double in the sixth and Griffey hit a sacrifice fly. Detroit scored twice in the bottom half on Pride's RBI single and a two-out throwing error by first baseman Brian Hunter.
John Marzano doubled in a run and Richie Lewis walked Rodriguez with the bases loaded in the seventh. Former Mariner John Cummings, one of two left-handers obtained by Detroit in the Chad Curtis trade with Los Angeles, came in and escaped further damage when he got Griffey on a called third strike to end the inning.
``I just wanted to get him out any way I could,'' Cummings said. ``Getting a strikeout was just a plus.''
Notes: Joey Eischen, who made his Detroit debut Saturday, and Cummings are the 23rd and 24th pitchers used by the Tigers this year. ... Seattle is the only AL team with a winning record to not win or lead its season series against the Tigers. Detroit is 6-27 against the others (New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago and Texas). ... Despite Sunday's loss, the Tigers won consecutive series for the first time this season. ... Griffey and Buhner were a combined 0-for-12 in the series until their first-inning hits Sunday. Buhner has hit all but three of his 200 career homers as a Mariner, trailing only Griffey's 223 on the club's career list. ... Both teams had 12 strikeouts. Hunter fanned three times and Griffey twice for Seattle; Mark Parent and Kimera Bartee each fanned three times for Detroit.