The Mariners scored the first run of the game on a home run by Adrian Beltre in the first inning, his ninth dinger of the season. They also scored the final seven runs of the game. But eight was not enough. Seattle, trailing 11-1 after six innings, scored two runs in the seventh, one in the eighth and four runs in the ninth. They had runners on second and third when Tigers closer Todd Jones induced Miguel Cairo to ground into a game-ending double play.
"We showed some spunk, stayed after it and hung in there, but you can't get that far behind," McLaren said. "It was too big of a mountain to climb."
Starter Carlos Silva didn't have good location with too many of his pitches, reliever Cha Seung Baek was equally ineffective and the Mariners had both middle infielders cover second base on a hit-and-run play that contributed mightily to the Tigers' five-run fourth inning.
"You don't have two guys covering second, but the story line for me tonight was we threw strikes but had poor location," McLaren said. "Pitching is changing speeds, having good location and throwing strikes. I didn't think we had very good location, and changing speeds wasn't all that good either.
"Carlos just wasn't himself. He's such a great competitor ... that you don't see this very often."
Silva was the first to agree.
"That was not me," he said. "I missed my spots and they got hits. They have been struggling, you know, but they have a good lineup over there. If you make a mistake, they are going to make you pay."
Silva missed his spot several times. Tigers shortstop Edgar Renteria went 2-for-2 against the Seattle starter, including a bases-loaded triple in the fourth inning that turned a one-run lead into a four-run cushion. That was not a good omen for the Mariners, who have not overcome a deficit larger than two runs all season.
The double-coverage at second base fueled the uprising.
With Magglio Ordonez on first base, no outs, and Miguel Cabrera batting, Tigers manager Jim Leyland flashed the hit-and-run sign. Ordonez broke with the pitch. So did Seattle's middle infielders. Second baseman Jose Lopez went to his right, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt went to his left, and the ball Cabrera hit went into left field, through the spot Betancourt had vacated.
It is doubtful the Mariners could have turned a double play, but they might have at least gotten one out.
"From what I understand, [Lopez] called the coverage and he was going to the bag," infield coach Sam Perlozzo said. "For some reason, Yuni went to the bag as well. [Lopez] was supposed to be there. It looked like Yuni got caught in between, and we had two guys covering the bag instead of one."
Lopez went to bat for his colleague, saying the ball would have been in the hole, and probably would have been an infield single for Cabrera.
Silva then retired Carlos Guillen, walked Matt Joyce and surrendered the triple to Renteria, who wound up with five RBIs, matching his single-game career high. Curtis Granderson contributed a two-out double in the fourth inning and Placido Polanco added a run-scoring single.
"You can never be passive on him, and I think that's one of the approaches that guys took today," Granderson said of Silva. "You have to be ready to hit, because that one that you let go by trying to be passive may be the best one you get the entire at-bat."
The Tigers were coming home after a 1-5 road trip that saw them get shut out for the seventh time this season. But the Tigers were bound to come out of their offensive hibernation and Silva knew it.
"From their first batter through their ninth batter, they are good," Silva said. "I was missing my spots and when you miss your spots against that kind of lineup, that's going to happen."
The same thing happened to Baek, as Ordonez, Renteria and Granderson slugged home runs off the right-handed reliever, who was rocked for six hits and four runs in two innings.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander, who had a 1-7 record and 6.05 ERA entering the game, departed after six innings with his team leading, 11-1.
"We know what kind of pitcher he is," McLaren said. "He throws hard, has some pretty good secondary pitches, has good movement on the ball, and for me, seeing him over the year, one of the guys that gives me the impression that he could throw a no-hitter every time he goes out there. He has that kind of stuff."