DETROIT (AP) - Brendan Ryan knew the Seattle Mariners weren't going to get many chances to beat Justin Verlander Thursday night.
That's why he pulled out a play from when Ty Cobb was playing center field for the Detroit Tigers.
In the first inning, Ryan hit a grounder into the hole and beat shortstop Jhonny Peralta's throw to first. Noticing that second baseman Ryan Raburn had headed for first in case of a wild throw, Ryan broke for the unguarded bag, making it with ease.
``I look for that every time I hit the ball into the hole, but it very rarely works,' he said. ``You know the shortstop is out of the play, and if the second baseman doesn't get back, I know I can beat him to the base. When you are going against Verlander, anything you can get is huge.'
The play didn't pay off - Verlander got out of the inning on a popout and a strikeout - and the Tigers went on to post a 4-1 victory.
``It isn't fun facing him - it is not fun at all,' Ryan said. ``He's throwing 98, he's got closer stuff and he's got extra pitches on top of that. He throws them all where he wants them, and he throws them on any count. It's tough.'
Mariners manager Eric Wedge, who faced Verlander for several years in the AL Central, agreed entirely.
``I've seen him do that way too many times,' Wedge said. ``When's he pitching like this, you look at it as a learning experience for your hitters, because they are facing the best of the best.'
Verlander (7-3) struck out a season-best 10 while allowing one run on five hits. He is 5-0 in his last seven starts with a 2.14 ERA, and received a standing ovation from the crowd of 22,090 while returning to the dugout after the eighth.
``I don't feel like this is my best run, but I feel like I'm pitching pretty well,' he said. ``I just want to keep this momentum going.'
Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his 16th straight save.
Doug Fister (3-7) dropped to 1-4 since May 1, giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks in his eight innings. He is 1-12 in 19 career starts against the AL Central.
After the Tigers stranded runners on third with fewer than two outs in both the third and fourth innings, the Mariners went ahead in the fifth.
Greg Halman singled, stole second, moved to third on a flyball and scored on a wild pitch.
Detroit, though, came back with four in the bottom of the inning. Peralta singled and scored on Alex Avila's second triple of the game. With two outs, Don Kelly's single gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead, and Brennan Boesch followed with his eighth homer of the season.
``I kept letting the leadoff hitters get on, and it came back to hurt me in that inning,' Fister said. ``Avila got me twice when I left sinkers too far over the plate, and Boesch hit a cutter that wasn't far enough inside.'
Notes: The game took 2 hours, 17 minutes, and ended at 9:23 p.m., just 16 minutes after sunset. ... Avila became just the third Tigers catcher to triple twice in a game since 1919, joining Brad Ausmus (1999) and Lance Parrish (1980). No major league catcher has hit three triples in a game in that span. ... Raburn went 0 for 3 for Detroit, and is hitting .216 since Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he was giving him a ``new season' by moving him to second base in late May. ... Seattle's starting rotation came in with the second-worst run support in the majors, leading only San Diego, and Fister only got one run in his eight innings. ... Seattle's Miguel Olivo went 0 for 4 in the cleanup spot, striking out all four times.
The Associated Press News Service
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