Detroit Tigers third baseman Isaac Paredes couldn’t believe what just happened.
One day after getting called up from Triple-A Toledo, the 22-year-old came inches away from a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Seattle Mariners left fielder Jake Fraley jumped at the warning track, reached his glove over the wall and robbed Paredes to start a double play.
A stunned Paredes crouched beyond first base in disappointment.
The Tigers (25-36) clawed back once in extra innings, but they were beat up for five runs in the top of the 11th inning in a 9-6 loss Wednesday at Comerica Park. It was Seattle’s first win over the Tigers in five games between the teams this season.
In the top of the 11th, left-hander Daniel Norris intentionally walked Ty France to put runners on the corners with one out. And Fraley followed with a single, giving the Mariners a 5-4 lead.
Two batters later, Dillon Thomas singled to score two more runs. Making his MLB debut, his two-out single was the first hit of his career. Tom Murphy chipped in two more runs for a 9-4 lead with a two-run double down the left-field line.
That’s when fans at Comerica Park began to leave.
Robbie Grossman hit a two-run homer against Keynan Middleton in the bottom of the 11th.
The Tigers’ bullpen produced scoreless frames through the top of the ninth inning, thanks to Derek Holland, Kyle Funkhouser and Gregory Soto. When the game reached extra innings, Hinch called on Jose Cisnero for the 10th inning.
J.P. Crawford singled against Cisnero to score Thomas — the free runner on second base because of the extra innings rule — for a 4-3 lead, but the Tigers countered in their half-inning because of a mistake from the Mariners.
Catcher Jake Rogers put together a strong all-around performance, but he struck out swinging in the bottom of the 10th. Niko Goodrum advanced Paredes to third base with a ground out, but Rogers couldn’t capitalize. A two-out wild pitch from Seattle reliever JT Chargois allowed Paredes to score and tie the game at four runs.
Three runs vs. Mize
Rogers worked with rookie right-hander Casey Mize for six innings, homered in the fifth inning, drew two walks to help him score two runs and cut down a pair of runners on the bases. His arm ended the sixth and eighth innings.
Mize allowed three runs on four hits and two walks, striking out six batters, in his six innings. He threw 56 of 99 pitches for strikes. For the eighth start in a row, the 24-year-old carried his team through at least the fifth inning.
He plunked two batters in an 18-pitch first inning and walked a batter on four pitches in a 12-pitch third inning but went three up, three down on nine pitches in the second. His early results featured trouble at times with his fastball command.
Mize’s confidence was tested in the third, after walking Crawford with one out. He fell behind 2-0 to Mitch Haniger for six consecutive balls and went to a 3-1 count before delivering a fastball in the strike zone. Instead of pitching around the zone, he kept trying to get back ahead in the count — a positive sign in his continued development.
Haniger swung and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
Seattle’s first hit came from France with one out in the fourth inning. But Mize responded by retiring the next five batters with four strikeouts.
Mize’s momentum was disrupted in the sixth. The Mariners attacked him for three runs and made him labor through 28 pitches to get three outs, and it was actually Rogers who finished the inning by throwing out Taylor Trammell trying to steal second base.
The first three batters in the sixth did damage: Crawford doubled, Haniger singled and Kyle Seager blasted a 426-foot home run near the concourse beyond the left-field wall, just underneath the Pepsi Porch. He got ahold of a 96 mph fastball from Mize to tie the game at three runs.
Center fielder Derek Hill left the game in the first inning with a right shoulder sprain. He robbed Seager and crashed into the center-field wall. He immediately to the warning track, and right fielder Nomar Mazara called for Hinch and athletic trainer Doug Teter.
In the second inning, Paredes — a late replacement for the scratched Harold Castro — tripled to the gap in right-center field with two outs for his first hit this season.
Goodrum put a charge into a changeup from Mariners starter Chris Flexen, but Thomas — in his MLB debut — caught the ball, smacked into the right-center field wall and stole a run from the Tigers.
Still, the Tigers didn’t wait long to strike first. A walk from Rogers and single from Akil Baddoo put runners on first and second to open the third inning. Grossman’s fly out to right field pushed Rogers to third, and Schoop gave his team a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Rogers ignited the Tigers’ two-run fifth inning by crushing a 423-foot solo homer to right-center field with one out. Baddoo followed with a ground-rule double to the deepest part of the ballpark. His double, which bounced over the right-center wall, traveled 429 feet.
Both Rogers and Baddoo got ahold of Flexen’s fastball.
And Grossman singled on a curveball for a 3-0 lead, but Schoop killed a chance for more runs by grounding into a double play.
Although the Tigers seemed prepared to chase Flexen, he got comfortable again with a six-pitch sixth inning to conclude his start. Flexen allowed three runs on six hits and one walk. He struck out three batters.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.