It didn’t take Detroit’s Nick Maton long to get back in the swing of things.
Recalled from Triple-A Toledo after the All-Star break, Maton hit a two-run homer and made a sterling defensive play as the Tigers defeated the host Seattle Mariners 5-4 Friday night
The series continues Saturday, with All-Star right-handers Michael Lorenzen (3-6, 4.03 ERA) of Detroit and George Kirby (8-7, 3.09) of Seattle scheduled to take the mound.
Maton, acquired in an offseason trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, was batting just .163 when he was demoted June 26.
He hit .289 for the Mud Hens with two homers and 10 RBIs.
“I feel like the main thing is just getting the confidence back, finding some success,” Maton said.
Playing second base Friday, Maton made a diving stop on a grounder hit by J.P. Crawford with a runner at third in the fifth inning to preserve the Tigers‘ one-run lead, then hit a two-run shot in the seventh to score what proved to be the decisive run
“Maton went down and did what we asked him to do,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He did perform a little more well-rounded. He did move around the infield a little bit. I think the mental reset was good for him, and we wanted to honor our word that once we felt like he did that, we were going to bring him back into the fold.
All five of Detroit’s runs came via the long ball, as Kerry Carpenter hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Akil Baddoo added a solo shot in the fifth, both off All-Star Luis Castillo.
“(It’s satisfying) to get a win against a quality starting pitcher, and we had some really good at-bats, some good defensive plays, and then held on at the end,” Hinch said. “So obviously happy with the result. It’s good to get back up and running with a win and the chance to win the series (Saturday).”
The Mariners won their final three series before the All-Star break — against Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Houston –to get back above .500 and bolster their playoff hopes
But they fell back into a season-long trend Friday, going 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and leaving seven on base. Twice they failed to get a runner home from third base with fewer than two outs.
“It’s situational-hitting stuff that we’ve struggled with all year,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ” … That’s an area that we’ve talked a lot about and just haven’t been consistent in getting those guys in. It’ll come back to bite you
“Not the way we were hoping to get the homestand started.”
Kirby has won his past two starts — against Tampa Bay and Houston — allowing just three earned runs over 13 2/3 innings in the process. Kirby is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in two previous starts against Detroit.
Lorenzen snapped a four-game losing streak in his most recent start, allowing three hits over five scoreless innings in a 9-0 victory against visiting Oakland. He is 1-2 with an 8.16 ERA in four career appearances against Seattle, including three starts.
–Field Level Media