DETROIT – Lloyd McClendon spent last fall hoping to get a chance to manage in a pennant race at Comerica Park.
He got his wish Friday night, even if it wasn’t exactly the way he had envisioned things.
McClendon had hoped to become the Tigers’ manager when Jim Leyland retired after winning three straight AL Central titles, but general manager Dave Dombrowski picked Brad Ausmus over Leyland’s longtime hitting coach.
McClendon ended up managing the Mariners instead, and made his return to Comerica Park with a 7-2 victory.
James Paxton (3-0) was the star for Seattle, pitching six innings and giving up one run on five hits. Robinson Cano homered, and he and Logan Morrison each scored twice as Seattle won its fifth straight and ninth in 11 games.
The Tigers dropped 1 1/2 games behind first-place Kansas City in the AL Central, thanks to a 12-17 stretch since the All-Star break.
Obviously, we’d rather be in first place by 15 games, but we’re not, Ausmus said. There’s nothing we can do about what we’ve done up until now. You just go out tomorrow and try to start winning games again.
Rick Porcello (13-8) struggled badly in his first appearance since pitching the final three innings of Detroit’s 19-inning loss in Toronto on Sunday.
After a five-start stretch in which he had a 1.75 ERA, the 25-year-old righty gave up six runs – five earned – and 10 hits in six innings. He didn’t walk a batter, but struck out only three.
The game in Toronto had nothing to do with what happened tonight, he said. I had plenty of time to get ready for this start, and I prepared just like I always do. I just didn’t pitch well.
Seattle jumped out to a quick three-run lead in the second.
Following a leadoff single and a hit batter, Morrison and Endy Chavez each hit an RBI single. Taylor bunted for a single, loading the bases with none out, but ex-Tiger Austin Jackson grounded into a double play, helping Porcello to escape only down 3-0.
An inning earlier, Jackson received a long standing ovation when he led off his first game at Comerica Park since the trade-deadline deal that sent him to Seattle and brought ace pitcher David Price to the Tigers.
That was a special moment for me, said Jackson.
Cano made it 4-0 with a long homer on the first pitch of the third. After the Tigers got on the board in the bottom half, Taylor restored the four-run lead with an RBI single in the fourth, and Detroit never threatened again.
The run in the fourth was the one that really frustrated me, because we were still within 4-1, and with this offense, that’s manageable, Porcello said.