Snell outduels Verlander as Mariners top Tigers

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 the Pittsburgh Pirates in late July, allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings as the Mariners beat the Detroit Tigers 3-1 on 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 29 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.

"The first run scored on a flare, and all you can do is tip your cap on a play like that," Leyland said. "Then he was throwing fastballs to Ichiro, and he just got too much of the plate with one pitch. He pitched very, very well with just the one mistake. We just never got anything going on offense."

Detroit got a run back on Carlos Guillen's homer in the sixth but left two runners on in the inning and never threatened again.

"It seems like we are always one big hit away from exploding," said Gerald Laird, who went 0-for-3. "Yesterday, we got that from Alex [Avila], but on a lot of nights, it seems like it never comes. We've got to find a way to make that happen."

Game notes
The Mariners acquired third baseman Bill Hall from Milwaukee for minor-league pitcher Ruben Flores. Hall, who had been designated for assignment by the Brewers last week after hitting .201 in 76 games, is expected to join the Mariners on Thursday in Detroit. ... Tigers pitcher Dontrelle Willis (anxiety disorder) left Wednesday's rehab start for Triple-A Toledo in the second inning with what was announced as a leg injury. Leyland said he didn't expect a report on Willis' status until later Wednesday night. ... Leyland said he was considering giving Curtis Granderson Thursday and Friday off with his All-Star centerfielder mired in a 0-for-13 slump. "We've got two lefties the next two days, and I might get him out for a couple days," Leyland said. "He's doing everything he can, but it isn't working right now."