<
>

Maroth at a loss to describe horrid start

DETROIT (AP) -- Mike Maroth has run out of words to describe his
horrid start to the season.

Maroth became the second pitcher in Detroit history to lose his
first nine decisions of the season as the Seattle Mariners beat the
Tigers 6-2 Sunday behind eight strong innings from Joel Pineiro.

"It makes it tough, talking about it quite a bit,'' Maroth
said. "I'm not going to let the negative talk or the records
bother me.''

Bret Boone, Carlos Guillen and Greg Colbrunn homered for the
Mariners, who swept the three-game series and have won six of seven
overall to improve their AL-leading record to 28-15.

"Everyone is just swinging the bat,'' Boone said. "We're just
playing really good.''

Maroth gave up six runs and eight hits in five innings to join
Ted Gray (1953) as the only Tigers pitchers to start the season
0-9. Heathcliff Slocumb was the last pitcher to lose his first nine
decisions of a season, doing it in 1997 with Boston and Seattle.

"He's handled himself with a composure that I don't think too
many people have,'' Tiger manager Alan Trammell.

The major league record for consecutive losses to start a season
by a pitcher is 14, by Joe Harris (1906) of the Boston Pilgrims and
Matt Keough (1979) of the Oakland Athletics.

Pineiro (4-3) allowed four hits, struck out seven and walked
two. He gave up only Bobby Higginson's two-run homer in the first
inning.

"I haven't thrown like that in a while,'' Pineiro said. "It
felt great. It felt like a spring training game. In spring
training, I was locked in. Then I got out of focus. But I'm zeroed
in again.''

Seattle led 2-0 after the game's first two batters. Ichiro
Suzuki led off with a line single to right and Guillen then lined a
pitch over the fence in left-center for a two-run homer.

But Detroit tied it in the bottom half on Higginson's two-run
shot. It followed a one-out walk to Ramon Santiago.

Colbrunn gave the Mariners a 3-2 lead when he homered to lead
off the second inning. His opposite-field drive just got into the
corner of the bullpen in right-center.

Seattle stretched the lead to 4-2 in the fourth when Ben Davis'
two-out double off the scoreboard in right-center scored Randy
Winn, who had reached on an infield single and stole second.

Boone made it 6-2 with a two-run homer in the fifth, his third
home run in two games.

"Mike, today, was not as sharp as he had been,'' Trammell said.
"He made a couple of bad pitches and they made him pay for it.''

The Tigers had runners on first and third with two out in the
sixth after singles by Dmitri Young and Carlos Pena. But Pineiro
struck out Craig Monroe to end the inning.

"That was as good as I've seen him,'' Seattle manager Bob
Melvin said. "He was economical with his pitches.''

Game notes
The Tigers have scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m.
Monday to discuss new legislation enacted to curb fan interference
at sporting events. ... Suzuki went 3-for-5, extending his hitting
streak to 10 games (21-for-41). ... Boone has reached base in 40 of
42 games this season.