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Originally published Monday, September 26, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Mariners

Meche lasts 2 innings in loss to Tigers

Gil Meche's return to the Seattle rotation didn't even last an hour as the Mariners dropped their second consecutive game to the Detroit...

Special to The Seattle Times

DETROIT — Gil Meche's return to the Seattle rotation didn't even last an hour as the Mariners dropped their second consecutive game to the Detroit Tigers 8-1 yesterday afternoon.

The right-hander was pulled after two innings, about 35 minutes after the game started because of shoulder fatigue.

"I had no reason to even think I'd have a tired shoulder," said the 27-year old Meche. "I've been feeling pretty good, with no pain. It's frustrating."

Meche allowed consecutive singles to Curtis Granderson (2 for 4) and Placido Polanco to start the game. After moving to third on a hit-and-run on Polanco's single, Granderson scored when designated hitter Chris Shelton grounded into a double play.

Meche threw just 26 pitches and allowed one run on three hits with one strikeout in his first start since Aug. 19.

"He said he just didn't have anything in his arm," Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said. "But no pain or anything."

Right-handed reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa (1-3) replaced Meche and retired the first six hitters he faced before Craig Monroe (2 for 4) and Marcus Thames hit consecutive singles to lead off the fifth. It was downhill from there for Hasegawa and the Mariners.

Hasegawa allowed a sacrifice bunt, a run-scoring single by seldom-used catcher Vance Wilson, John McDonald's double down the third-base line past a diving Adrian Beltre, a triple by Granderson and a sacrifice fly by Polanco to make the score 6-1 after five innings.

Hargrove attributed Hasegawa's struggles to him being tired even though Hasegawa last pitched Sept. 16. That outing was a scoreless four-inning appearance during a loss at Texas in the first game of the current trip.

Rafael Soriano pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Hasegawa and fared much better. The right-handed Soriano allowed one hit and struck out four.

Soriano's replacement, Jeff Harris, allowed two runs, including a two-run home run in the rain to Carlos Pena that traveled 461 feet — the longest in Comerica Park history. The previous record for longest home run at Comerica Park, which opened April 11, 2000, was by former Tiger Eric Munson on June 26, 2004. Munson's 457-foot home run ended the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Mariners continued a season-long slump, scoring four runs in the series, one in each of the last two games in Detroit.

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"We hit the ball pretty decently today," Hargrove said. "We just hit it right at them and they made the plays."

Tigers starter Mike Maroth stifled the Mariners.

The Mariners finally got to Maroth in the fourth inning to tie the score at 1 after Maroth faced the minimum through three innings. Seattle managed four hits off Maroth (14-13) and one off of reliever Franklin German — all doubles.

Ichiro (2 for 4, two doubles) led off the fourth with a double to right-center, but was thrown out at third on Yuniesky Betancourt's grounder up the middle, which Maroth grabbed. Betancourt moved to second during the rundown and scored when left fielder Raul Ibanez, who went 1 for 10 in the series, doubled to center.

With one out in the seventh, the Mariners had runners on first and third after a walk by first baseman Richie Sexson (0 for 2) and a double by second baseman Jose Lopez. A pop out to short left by designated hitter Mike Morse and a strikeout by Shin-Soo Choo ended any hopes Seattle had of getting back into the game.

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