Wade LeBlanc pitches better after an “opener,” and Thursday night the Mariners used an opener.

In eight previous “post-opener” outings, he’s thrown 44.1 innings while boasting a 3.06 ERA. In seven traditional starts, LeBlanc has struggled with 32.1 innings pitched and a 7.79 ERA.

Thursday night, the lefty spun six solid innings of two run baseball with only one run earned. LeBlanc’s second pitch was scorched into the bullpens beyond left field, and it felt like another long night for the M’s was on the way.

Seattle’s “headliner” settled in, threw 86 pitches (64 for strikes) and collected four strikeouts and gave up one walk.

The 3rd inning gave the Mariners enough runs to win. The Tigers committed an error, and then Tim Beckham smashed a grand slam to left, which put Seattle up 5-1.

Five more runners would eventually cross home plate for the M’s, and they take game one of this four game series.

Winning Pitcher, (6-3) Wade LeBlanc: 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 K, 1 BB

Losing Pitcher, (1-1) Drew VerHagen: 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 4 K, 4 BB

Game two of Mariners-Tigers is on Friday. Pregame coverage starts at 6 p.m. on 102.9/750 The Game.

Here are the highlights from the game:

Top 3rd … John Hicks Home Run, 1-0 Tigers

Bottom 3rd … Tim Lopes Scores on Error, 1-1

Bottom 3rd … Tim Beckham Grand Slam, 5-1 Mariners

Bottom 4th … J.P. Crawford RBI Triple, 6-1 Mariners

Bottom 4th … Omar Narvaez RBI Double, 7-1 Mariners

Bottom 5th … Kyle Seager Home Run, 8-2 Mariners

Bottom 8th … Daniel Vogelbach 2-Run Double, 10-2 Mariners

Final Call, 10-2 Mariners win!

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