DETROIT, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) -- After he was welcomed back to Comerica Park tonight with a standing ovation, Austin Jackson accounted for three of Seattle's first five outs. This represented an inconvenience for Jackson but a problem for the Tigers.
When Jackson batted with the bases loaded and none out in the second, Seattle already had scored the game's first two runs in the inning off Rick Porcello. Jackson grounded into a double play as the third run scored.
The Tigers were in major trouble. To win, they would have to become the first team in Seattle's last 13 games to score more than three runs off the Mariners.
They didn't make it to three. Lloyd McClendon's Mariners beat them, 7-2, and improved to 10-3 in this stretch of lockdown pitching. Seattle moved a half-game ahead of the Tigers for the second and final wild-card spot. The loss ensured the Tigers would remain second in the AL Central for the fourth straight day.
Jackson, who went 0-for-5, received the standing ovation when he came up to lead off the first. Some folks in the Tigers dugout were applauding. He waved his helmet to the sellout throng of 42,385. It was the first time Jackson had been seen at Comerica Park in 15 days, since he jogged off the field in the seventh inning on July 31 because he'd just been included in the trade for David Price. Those two will face each other tonight; Jackson is 3-for-17 off Price with 10 strikeouts.
The Mariners scored off Porcello in four straight innings, and of their eight hits against him that went to the outfield, five were hit to center. Perhaps McClendon, the Tigers' hitting coach for the previous seven seasons, suggested to his team that the way to attack Porcello was to take him up the middle.
First baseman Miguel Cabrera had some apparent pain in his left hand in the top of the first after he had to come off the bag for a throw and tag out Jackson on his leadoff grounder. In the bottom of the inning, Cabrera lined a double into the right-field corner; next time up, he sent his AL-leading 39th double beyond Jackson.