DETROIT: Steven Moya knew the home runs were going to come.
“They know I can hit home runs,” he said after hitting his first career major league home run on Sunday. “I wasn’t worried about it.”
And the home runs kept coming Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), his first at Comerica Park, and his first multi-home run game. Moya went deep twice, rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer was solid in a short outing, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Seattle Mariners, 5-1.
Fulmer, as he has been for the past month, was the headliner.
With much of the talk heading into the game focused on how the team was planning on giving him a breather — perhaps skipping an upcoming start — to help conserve innings for the stretch run, Fulmer did his part to oblige by struggling in the fifth inning, which led to his early exit.
Fulmer pitched 42/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits. He struck out three and walked one over 74 pitches.
The Tigers backed Fulmer early against Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma.
In the first inning, Miguel Cabrera connected on a curveball, crushing it into the left-field seats for his 16th home run of the season. It was a solo shot. Of Cabrera’s 16 home runs, 10 have tied the game or given the team the lead.
The Tigers extended their lead when Jose Iglesias hit a two-run double off the leftfield wall in the second. Iglesias has hit safely in all but two games this month.
The three-run lead seemed more than enough for Fulmer to work with. He hadn’t allowed more than a run in his past five starts.
Moya hit his first home run of the night in the fourth inning, over the wall in right field. He hit his second in the fifth inning, pounding a low, sinking pitch over the wall in left field.
Fulmer fell into trouble in the fifth. After walking Adam Lind to open the inning and allowing a one-out hit, Fulmer hit back-to-back batters, bringing Ausmus out of the dugout with the hook. Playing fireman on this night was lefty Kyle Ryan, who, like the night before, wiggled out of a big jam.
With the bases loaded and one out, he struck out Franklin Gutierrez swinging and got Robinson Cano to ground out. Ryan pitched a scoreless sixth inning before the back-end bullpen triumvirate of Shane Greene, Justin Wilson and Francisco Rodriguez closed the door. The Tigers bullpen did not allow a hit in 41/3 innings.
The Tigers have won 15 of their previous 19 games at home. They are 37-35.