DETROIT -- In the span of 162 games, a four-game losing streak doesn't seem too bad. But when they're lost in historic fashion, as they were for the Mariners -- who had a perfect game thrown against them and twice blew leads, once in the ninth inning -- it can be devastating.
Fortunately, Seattle avoided another setback and more heartbreak Tuesday night against Detroit, winning, 7-4, and snapped the losing streak after nearly squandering a four-run lead.
"This last week's been a tough week on us, and we've had some real tough losses," manager Eric Wedge said. "You're going to have those, with the exception of [the perfect game], but it's nice for these guys to come out here and beat a good ball club and play good baseball."
Behind 15 hits, a season high for the team thus far, the Mariners won a game that became uncomfortably close. After Seattle had raced out to a four-run lead, Detroit's dangerous lineup chipped away and cut the deficit to one.
The rally culminated in the fifth inning, when, on an 0-1 count to Miguel Cabrera, starter Jason Vargas left a cutter hanging, and the Tigers' third baseman sent it deep over the left-field fence to make it 5-4.
For a young team, especially one with the luck the Mariners have had recently, it was enough to allow the doubt to start creeping in. But Wedge said the team wouldn't allow it to happen.
"You got to stay strong," Wedge said. "You're still winning the ballgame. What you're trying to do is just answer and separate."
And answer the Mariners did. Alex Liddi, who got his second start of the season with Justin Smoak still nursing a sore right hamstring, repaid his manager's decision to start him by going 3-for-5 with a crucial solo homer in the seventh.
On a 2-1 count, Liddi sent a fastball over the wall in left-center to increase the Mariners' lead to two runs. In a situation in which the relief pitching would have to be perfect against a stacked lineup, the home run provided a cushion.
"That's what I was telling Felix [Hernandez] in the dugout," said Vargas, who allowed four runs but pitched well enough to earn his third victory. "He hits a homer right there [and] puts us back up two. ... It takes a little bit of pressure off the bullpen when they come back out."
Detroit fought back behind home runs from Cabrera and catcher Alex Avila. With the Tigers trailing, 5-1, in the bottom of the fourth, Avila hit a two-run shot to straightaway center off Vargas.
"I thought [Vargas] did a good job of going left to right and up and down," Wedge said of his pitcher's performance. "Against a lineup like that, you've got to do that. And he's thrown very well this year for us. Very consistent."
After Cabrera's blast chiseled the lead to one, Steve Delabar, Tom Wilhelmsen and Brandon League threw three innings of scoreless ball to shut the door on the Tigers.
For Tigers manager Jim Leyland, spotting the Mariners four runs was the difference.
"We dug ourselves a hole, and add-on runs hurt us a little bit, particularly after we got back in it," Leyland said. "You can sum it up pretty much as [starter Max] Scherzer didn't have his control."
The right-hander allowed five runs on 10 hits and two walks.
The biggest sign of encouragement for the Mariners came with runners in scoring position. Entering the game, the team had only five hits in their past 42 at-bats in that situation. Through the first three innings against Scherzer, they matched that.
Behind a Chone Figgins walk and Dustin Ackley single, Seattle quickly put runners on first and third. Jesus Montero hit an RBI single to make it 1-0. Michael Saunders came up with a two-run double to make it 4-0 in the third.
As a team the Mariners are hitting .233 -- the second-lowest average in the American League. On Tuesday night the bats came alive to hit .375.
"These guys have been getting beaten up pretty good, and you know, they've got to get over that hump," Wedge said. "It's nice to see them come through."
Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.