Series: Game 2 of 3

Detroit leads 2-0 (as of 5/22)

Game 1: Friday, May 21
Game 2: Saturday, May 22
Game 3: Sunday, May 23

Tigers 8

(21-21, 11-10 away)

Mariners 4

(14-28, 8-13 home)

    10:05 PM ET, May 22, 2004

    Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington 

    123456789 R H E
    DET 100000052 8 12 1
    SEA 000200002 4 7 2

    W: J. Johnson (3-5)

    L: J. Putz (0-1)

    Detroit works over Seattle bullpen

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Jason Johnson wanted to notch a complete game, and the Seattle bullpen put him in a great position to nail it down.

    Johnson pitched into the ninth inning after Craig Monroe hit a three-run double in a five-run eighth, leading the Detroit Tigers to an 8-4 win over the Mariners on Saturday night.

    Seattle had things in control after a solid night from Joel Pineiro, who was outstanding though seven innings after a shaky first. But the bullpen broke down in the eighth, when Detroit sent nine batters to the plate.

    "The way Pineiro was pitching tonight, to see us come back the way we did in the eighth was great for the team," Johnson said. "It got everybody pumped up. Everybody decided to get out there and keep hitting."

    Johnson (3-5) didn't get his complete game after giving up two runs in the ninth, but the win pulled the Tigers to .500 at 21-21 and assured them of a series victory going into Sunday's finale.

    "Behold, we got five runs in the eighth inning," Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. "That was huge. We got a series, and that's the most important thing."

    The Tigers trailed 2-1 but tied it off reliever J.J. Putz (0-1). Alex Sanchez led off with a single to right, took second on Carlos Guillen's sacrifice and scored on Ivan Rodriguez's RBI double to left.

    "Pudge hit a good sinker, down and in," said Putz, who gave up his first run in 13 1-3 innings this season. "He just put a good piece of wood on it."

    After Putz walked Rondell White, lefty Mike Myers took over and walked Bobby Higginson before striking out pinch-hitter Greg Norton. That's when Monroe doubled to left-center with the bases loaded to make it 5-3 sending many displeased fans to the exits.

    "Joel held us in a position to win going into the eighth inning with our setup guys and our closer," Seattle manager Bob Melvin said. "To put that much pressure on the pitching, it's definitely mounting on us."

    The fans booed even more lustily when Eric Munson made it 6-2 with an RBI double off Julio Mateo, the third Seattle pitcher in the inning.

    The boos continued in the ninth when White added a two-run single, advancing to second when left fielder Raul Ibanez couldn't collect the ball and was charged with an error.

    Johnson didn't allow a hit until the ninth after Scott Spiezio's two-run homer just inside the right-field foul pole in the fourth put Seattle ahead 2-1.

    "Going into that last inning, we only have four hits again and only two runs," Melvin said. "And the home run, Spiezio hits it on a 3-0 pitch. We have to score more runs."

    Johnson left after allowing two runs in the ninth on Edgar Martinez's one-out RBI double and a single to center by Spiezio that allowed a run to score when Sanchez was charged with a fielding error in center.

    Johnson gave up seven hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in 8 1-3 inning and ended a six-game losing skid against Seattle.

    "He wanted to finish the game, and that is a good sign," Trammell said. "He is our ace."

    One week ago, Johnson left after five innings against Texas because of a nagging blister, but it didn't bother him this time.

    "It felt good because I hadn't gone too deep because of the blister," he said. "It held real well today and I was able to pitch my normal game."

    Jamie Walker retired pinch-hitter Jolbert Cabrera and Rich Aurilia to end the game.

    It was a tough outcome for Pineiro, who was poised to improve his lifetime record against the Tigers to 6-0 after retiring the last 13 hitters he faced. He gave up five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.

    "It's frustrating, the way he battled," Putz said. "He threw a lot of pitches early and got us through seven. It's frustrating when he pitches the way he did and we don't get it done for us."

    Game notes

    Pineiro threw 35 pitches in the first. ... The Tigers have 51 runs and 48 RBI with the bases loaded, leading the majors in both categories. ... Immediately after Spiezio's homer, Melvin told plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt that Aurilia and John Olerud were trapped in the video room. The door was drilled out and play resumed after a few minutes when Olerud, the next hitter, emerged and teammates giggled in the dugout. "It was funnier at the time," Melvin said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press