Mariners to start playoffs on road, Haggerty hurts groin

Haggerty appeared to injure his groin. He’s getting an MRI on Tuesday.

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Mariners will begin their first playoff trip on the road in two decades after a costly 3-4 loss Monday night to the Detroit Tigers, who hit a double homer from Javier Báez.

Sam Haggerty singled with two outs in the ninth and injured his left groin while successfully sliding to second base. He needed help getting off the field, an arm over manager Scott Servais and an athletic trainer.

Haggerty is due to have an MRI on Tuesday.

Andrew Chafin beat Carlos Santana for his third save.

Seattle, promised a postseason trip for the first time since 2001, will open a best-of-three series in which all three games will be played in Toronto or Cleveland on Friday.

Seattle has three games left against Detroit, including a doubleheader on Tuesday.

Bryan Garcia (2-0), making his fourth start of the season after being recalled by Triple-A Toledo before the game, hit six over 6 2/3 innings with two walks.

Seattle star Julio Rodríguez, who has returned from a trip on the injured list caused by lower back strain, played the designated hitter and is likely to take center stage at one of the games in Tuesday’s doubleheader.

He hit a 110.1 mph single down the middle that led to first, advanced when Ty France was hit by a pitch, and tied the score to 1 when he scored one on flyouts from Mitch Haniger and Eugenio Suárez base moved up.

Rodríguez scored another three fielder strike in the third inning and cut the lead to 4-3 with an RBI single in the seventh against José Cisnero.

Cisnero defeated France to end the threat and the Tigers held on to their 11th win in 13 games.

Seattle rookie George Kirby (8-5), asking for a postseason start, allowed four runs, six hits and three walks in four innings. Kirby competed with the highest strikeout-to-walk ratio by a rookie since 1900 at 6.74.

Akil Baddoo took the lead, stole second place and scored with Miguel Cabrera’s two-out single. Riley Greene went into the third with two outs and Báez hit a two-run homer for a 3-1 lead.

Victor Reyes extended the lead with an RBI single in the fourth that popped out of right fielder Mitch Haniger’s glove on a hard scoop attempt.

Adam Frazier had two hits for the Mariners and drove in one run.

Seattle selected infielder Abraham Toro to Triple-A Tacoma. Toro is expected to join a group of Mariners system players currently working in Arizona should they be needed during the playoffs. Seattle also reinstated catcher Curt Casali from the paternity list and elected catcher Brian O’Keefe to Tacoma.

Luis Castillo is in line to start the wildcard opening game.

“He’s got all the intangibles, plus the stuff, and he likes to pitch in big games and that’s going to be a big game,” Servais said. “I’m saying all that, and we can’t get too far. We still have four games to play.”

Tigers: LHP Tarik Skubal is in Seattle with the team as he recovers from surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his left arm. Skubal has not played since August 1 and underwent surgery in mid-August. But Skubal played his college ball at Seattle University and the Tigers wanted him on the team for a little bit at the end of the season.

“He’s such a big part of our culture and presence and we obviously miss him on the field but it’s going to be a while,” said Tigers manager AJ Hinch. “But it’s good to see a familiar face and bring him back into a team environment.”

Tigers LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (5-5, 4.02 ERA) starts the first game. Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales (10-15, 4.14) starts the opener and RHP Chris Flexen (8-9, 3.64) starts the nightcap. Gonzales has lost three decisions in a row. Mariners to start playoffs on road, Haggerty hurts groin

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