DETROIT (AP) - Miguel Cabrera went hitless - and even if he'd been swinging well, it probably wouldn't have mattered.
Every time the Detroit slugger came to the plate, the bases were empty.
Seattle rookie Michael Pineda struck out nine in six sharp innings, and the Tigers struggled once again at the top of their lineup in a 7-2 loss to the Mariners on Thursday. Leadoff hitter Austin Jackson and No. 3 batter Magglio Ordonez went 0 for 9. Both are hitting under .200, limiting Cabrera's RBI chances from the cleanup spot.
``We haven't done much at the top of the order, and we need to do something about that,' manager Jim Leyland said.
Leyland stopped short of saying he'd juggle the lineup.
``No, one of those guys has a track record and we still think the other ones will be fine,' he said.
Ichiro Suzuki had two hits for Seattle, and Justin Smoak hit an RBI double in the fourth inning that put the Mariners ahead to stay. Seattle swept a three-game set against Detroit for the first time since July 2003.
Pineda (4-1) struck out the first four batters he faced. Although he allowed a couple runs in the second inning, the 6-foot-7, hard-throwing righty was overpowering.
Brad Penny (1-3) gave up four runs on nine hits and a walk for the Tigers. He struck out three.
The 22-year-old Pineda allowed four hits and three walks in his fifth career start. This was actually the most earned runs he'd given up since his debut April 5, and his ERA rose from 1.78 to 2.01. That was small consolation for the Tigers.
``That guy was nasty,' Detroit catcher Alex Avila said. ``He's going from 94 to 99 on his fastball, plus a slider and a split-finger, and he's throwing all three of them for strikes. He's going to be tough on everyone.'
Detroit didn't put a ball in play off Pineda until Brennan Boesch doubled in the second. Ryan Raburn followed with a walk, and Avila drove both runners in with a double.
The lead didn't last.
Suzuki hit an RBI double in the third, and Chone Figgins drove home a run with a groundball. Smoak gave the Mariners the lead in the fourth, and catcher Miguel Olivo added a solo homer leading off the sixth to make it 4-2.
``I felt pretty good, but everything they hit fell in,' Penny said. ``With one exception, they didn't hit anything really hard, but that's baseball. The only real mistake was that terrible pitch to Olivo. I could have hit that one out, and I'm a pitcher.'
It wasn't as impressive as Penny's last start, a dominant outing against the White Sox in which he allowed one hit through seven innings.
Luis Rodriguez broke it open in the eighth inning with a three-run shot off Ryan Perry - the infielder's ninth career homer and first since July 24, 2009.
Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge had the day off for Detroit. The Tigers started only four right-handed hitters against Pineda, but it was no use. He breezed through the first inning on 12 pitches, then struck out Cabrera on nine to start the second.
``He's not afraid to throw the ball,' Olivo said. ``No matter who's hitting, he just goes and gets him.'
It wasn't as easy after that, but Seattle's offense provided more than enough support. The Mariners outscored Detroit 24-6 in the series.
Suzuki already has 12 multihit games, and Olivo continued his torrid stretch against Detroit. The Seattle catcher has just 17 hits on the season - but 10 have been against the Tigers.
NOTES: Pineda threw 101 pitches. ... The Tigers were preparing to bus to their next series at Cleveland, which is only about a 170-mile drive from Detroit. ``I'm really looking forward to it,' manager Jim Leyland said. ``I think it makes a lot of sense. I think it's a great idea.' ... Seattle 2B Jack Wilson left the game in the fifth with irritation of the right eye. ... Detroit hasn't homered in five games.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved