Verlander, slumping Tigers ride four homers past Mariners

DETROIT (AP) -- Justin Verlander pitched and his teammates hit as they were expected to when this season of high expectations began.

For the Detroit Tigers, it was a refreshing change of pace.

Verlander struck out a season-high seven and Edgar Renteria hit one of Detroit's four homers and matched a career high with five RBIs in Detroit's 12-8 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.

"Hopefully, we can take off from here," Renteria said.

Verlander (2-7) gave up one run, four hits and walked one over six innings, earning his first win in nearly a month.

"He didn't look like a 1-7 guy," Jose Vidro said.

Verlander finally resembled the only pitcher in baseball history to throw a no-hitter, start a World Series game and be a rookie of the year and an All-Star in his first two full seasons.

He threw hard, his curve broke swiftly and his changeup buckled batters.

"The win was nice. I'd say we needed it," he said. "Hopefully, tonight turns the page for us."

The Tigers started the season as a popular pick to win the World Series after a busy offseason bumped their payroll up to nearly $139 million, trailing only the New York Yankees.

But they entered the week as perhaps baseball's biggest disappointment, slumping to last place in the AL Central.

Detroit lost its first seven games and 10 of 12 before pulling within a game of .500 at the beginning of the month. Then, they went 3-12 to start this week with an AL-low 17 wins -- one more than Seattle.

Reliever Jason Grilli, who the Tigers traded to Colorado earlier this season, said his former team was struggling because of chemistry problems.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland strongly disagreed, but it led to him gathering his team for a chat before the homestand started.

"The main point of the talk today with the team was, It's accountability with all of us," Leyland said. "It's not talking about silly stuff like clubhouse atmosphere.

"Out there tonight, the clubhouse looks pretty good to me. It's all about winning," he said.

Curtis Granderson, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen also homered for the Tigers, helping them open a homestand with as many runs as they had during a 1-5 road trip.

Renteria matched a season high with four hits, including a three-run triple in the five-run fourth and his fourth home run. He entered the game without an extra-base hit since April 24.

"Edgar's working hard and he's a real proud guy," Leyland said. "I'm tickled to death for him because he had a huge night."

Adrian Beltre hit a solo home run off Verlander in the first inning, then he shut down the Mariners.

"He's one of those guys that gives an impression he could throw a no-hitter every night," Seattle manager John McClaren said. "He's got that kind of stuff."

Seattle didn't score again until the seventh inning when it trailed by 10 runs.

Detroit needed the cushion.

The Mariners scored twice in the seventh, once in the eighth and added four runs in the ninth, bringing in closer Todd Jones ahead by four with two on and one out.

Jones got Miguel Cairo -- the only batter he faced -- to hit into a game-ending double play for his seventh save in as many chances.

"That's a manager's nightmare," Leyland said. "You don't want to let a game like that get away."

Carlos Silva (3-3) allowed nine hits and seven runs over four innings and hasn't won in his last six starts after beginning the season 3-0.

"They're struggling, but if you make a mistake against this lineup, they're going to make you pay," Silva said.

After chasing Silva, the Tigers roughed up Cha Seung Baek with three homers and four runs to build an 11-1 lead.

"You've got to start having some offense before the seventh inning," McClaren said. "We stayed after it, but that's a big mountain to climb."

Seattle has won just seven of its last 25 games.

Game notes
Granderson had a season-high three RBIs. ... Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, who had three hits, stole his major league-leading 21st base. ... Renteria had five RBIs for the seventh time in his career and second in his first season with the Tigers. ... Detroit DH Gary Sheffield went 0-for-5 to drop his batting average to .180 and was booed. "It's not going to affect the way I prepare," Sheffield said. ... Seattle outfielder Jeremy Reed made his first appearance after being called up from Triple-A Tacoma. ... Guillen, a former Mariner, is 16-for-31 in his career against Silva. ... Granderson's previous 23 homers were all solo shots -- dating to May 9, 2007 -- for the longest such streak according to homer historian David Vincent.