Ichiro's homer does the trick

Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Wednesday in Detroit.<BR><i>AP?photo</i>

DETROIT - Ian Snell knew he had more to offer the Seattle Mariners.

Wednesday night, he showed it.

Snell had his best start since being acquired from Pittsburgh in late July, allowing one run in 5 2-3 innings as the Mariners beat the Detroit Tigers 3-1 Wednesday night.

"I went out there and thought about strikes," said Snell, who entered the game with an 8.48 ERA in three starts since the July 29th trade. "I felt comfortable, and I had my sinker working, so I was getting grounders and pop-ups."

Snell had a decent first outing with the Mariners, but had allowed 11 runs in 7 1-3 innings over the last two.

"It was fun to get a win, but I was afraid my teammates might throw me in a garbage can or something," he said.

Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu was pleased that Snell came through as the Mariners try to stay in the wild-card race.

"He gave us a shot in the arm that we needed," Wakamatsu said. "It wasn't easy on the road with a big crowd in a pressure game, but that was a great start."

Three Mariners relievers finished, with David Aardsma pitching the ninth for his 28th save in 31 tries.

Justin Verlander (13-7) took the loss, allowing three runs and six hits. He struck out 10 - his sixth double-digit game of the season. Verlander now has 204 strikeouts, the most by a Tigers starter since Jack Morris had 208 in 1987.

"I'm sure he cares more about the wins than the strikeouts, but that's still an exceptional accomplishment," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "He's one of the best pitchers in baseball, and his best years should still be ahead of him."

The Mariners broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the fifth. With two out, Michael Saunders singled, stole second and scored on Josh Wilson's single. Suzuki hit Verlander's next pitch for his eighth homer.

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