DETROIT (AP) -- Jim Leyland has seen this before: The Tigers score a few runs, win a few games and then revert to the form that made them the high-priced disappointment of the early portion of the season.
After losing six of seven and only scoring 14 runs in the process, the Tigers scored 30 in a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners, culminating in a 9-2 win Thursday that Leyland hopes will build some lasting momentum."We've gotten some pitching, we've scored some runs and we've won some games, so everyone feels better about themselves," the Tigers manager said. "We've gotten excited before, though, and then we went back into the poor habits that surprised me, so we have to see if we can keep this going."Brandon Inge hit a three-run homer, Matt Joyce also went deep and Gary Sheffield had three hits to raise his batting average to .202 for the Tigers."This is the type of thing that will remind us that we are a good team," Inge said. "We just need to relax and play."Jeremy Bonderman (3-4) won for the first time in four May starts, allowing two runs and eight hits with two walks in six innings. He struck out two."We'd been playing terrible baseball coming into this series, so it helps to get a sweep," Bonderman said. "I threw the ball pretty well, and the guys got some hits for me."Freddy Dolsi picked up his first major-league save with three shutout innings.Miguel Batista (3-6) fell to 1-4 in his last six starts, giving up five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits in three innings."I'm not very happy with the way I pitched," Batista said. "It's very hard to explain, because my command was better than my last start, and I was throwing hard."The Mariners had a runner on third with none out in the first but failed to score, and the Tigers went ahead 1-0 on Magglio Ordonez's RBI double in the bottom of the inning.The Tigers expanded their lead to 4-0 on Inge's three-run shot in the second. Left fielder Jeremy Reed reached over the fence and got his glove on the ball, but his impact with the wall caused the glove to come off his hand and fall into the Tigers bullpen."I thought he had it -- I knew I got jammed and I didn't think it would get out," Inge said. "I guess I just got enough of it."The Mariners got a run back in the third on an RBI single by Raul Ibanez, but Edgar Renteria's sacrifice fly restored the four-run margin.Seattle loaded the bases with no one out in the fifth, but Ibanez hit into a double play to help Bonderman get out of the inning allowing just one run."They say that double plays are a pitcher's best friend, and there's some truth to that," Leyland said. "It's huge to get that, especially against someone that I believe is one of the best hitters in the league."The Tigers left nine players on base, six of them in scoring position, but the Mariners couldn't take advantage. They stranded eight, five of them on second or third."We put ourselves in the hole every night," Seattle manager John McLaren said. "I know we are capable of winning, but we just aren't doing it. There's no easy fix -- we are just in a rut."Joyce hit a two-run homer -- his fifth in eight games -- to make it 7-2 in the fifth, then made a diving catch to save a run in the sixth."He's just a kid, and he's having fun out there," Leyland said. "That catch was huge, because no one knows what happens if it gets by him."
R.A. Dickey allowed two runs in two innings for Seattle, a day after being called up to replace Cha Seung Baek. "Our pitching is a little beat up right now, and having R.A. will give us some protection," McLaren said. ... The game, played a day after major-league baseball announced plans to improve the pace of play, took 2 hours, 44 minutes. Leyland isn't a big fan of the moves, especially those designed to speed up managerial visits to the mound. "They want me to run on and off the mound -- I smoke three packs a day," he said. "I know [the commissioner] is doing what he thinks is best for the game, but at the same time, I don't have to agree with it."