DETROIT -- Perhaps every series should be labeled as the "biggest" or "most important" of the season. Because the Mariners seem to be thriving as the pressure of the push for a postseason spot grows with each passing day.
On Friday, Seattle kicked off a key three-game showdown with the Detroit Tigers, who were a half-game ahead of the Mariners for the second wild-card position.
And like the series before against the Blue Jays, the Mariners heightened their play with the higher stakes.
The Mariners hit their magic winning mark of four runs in the first four innings and cruised to a 7-2 win.
It was Seattle's fifth straight and the 11th in their last 14 games. At 66-55, they are 11 games over .500. That hasn't happened since the 2007 season when they finished 88-74.
Seattle scored three runs off Detroit starter Rick Porcello in the second inning with Logan Morrison and Endy Chavez delivering key run-scoring singles.
Robinson Cano pushed the lead to 4-0 when he led off the third inning with a solo homer to deep right field on the first pitch -- a hanging curveball -- he saw from Porcello. It was his 11th homer of the season and made it 4-0.
The Mariners are 49-10 this season when scoring four runs or more. But they weren't satisfied with just four.
The Tigers got a run back in the bottom of the third off Seattle starter James Paxton on a fielder's choice. But the Mariners answered with a run in the fourth on an RBI single from Chris Taylor and another in the fifth on a run-scoring single from Kyle Seager.
The six runs were more than enough for Paxton, who battled through command and efficiency issues, but still gave the Mariners six solid innings on 99 pitches. He allowed one run on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
The Mariners bullpen did give up a rare run in eighth inning. Dominic Leone walked Miguel Cabrera with two outs, wild pitched him to second and then surrendered an RBI single to Victor Martinez to make it 6-2.
But Brad Miller got the run back in the ninth, tripling to start the inning and scoring when Taylor was caught in a rundown after getting picked off at first base. Miller replaced Cano in the bottom of the eighth inning. Cano fouled a ball of the instep of his foot and was limping noticeably after running out a ground ball to shortstop.
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