DETROIT -- Rick Porcello struck out 10 in six innings, the second double-digit strikeout total in his five-year career, to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 4-2 victory over the struggling Seattle Mariners on Monday at Comerica Park.
Porcello (13-8), who won for the ninth time in his last 11 decisions, fell one shy of his career high in strikeouts. He had 11 against Pittsburgh on May 28. Joaquin Benoit notched his 21st save, while Torii Hunter and Omar Infante each had two hits and an RBI.
Victor Martinez drove in the go-ahead run for the Tigers, who led Cleveland by five games in the American League Central heading into the opener of the four-game series.
Abraham Almonte had a solo homer for the Mariners, who have lost seven of their last eight.
Detroit broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the sixth. After Seattle starter Joe Saunders (11-15) retired the first two batters, he walked Miguel Cabrera. Prince Fielder, Martinez and Infante followed with singles to knock Saunders out of the game. Martinez's single scored Cabrera, and Infante brought home Fielder.
Infante was in the lineup despite getting hit in the right leg by a Martinez line drive during batting practice.
Hunter's RBI single in the seventh off Tom Wilhelmsen made it 4-1. Justin Smoak's run-scoring single in the eighth off Drew Smyly pulled the Mariners within two runs.
Hunter scored on Joe Saunders' wild pitch in the first inning to give Detroit the early lead. Hunter had singled and advanced to third on Cabrera's single.
Almonte's second career homer tied it in the third. He drilled Porcello's 2-2 pitch into the right field stands.
NOTES: SS Jhonny Peralta, who is serving a 50-game suspension as part of Major League Baseball's Biogenesis investigation, will join the Tigers' instructional league in Lakeland, Fla., on Wednesday. Peralta, who has been working out with the Tigers since last week, will play exclusively in left field during his rehab stint. Rookie Jose Iglesias has emerged as Detroit's starting shortstop during Peralta's suspension. Peralta is expected to rejoin the Tigers for the final regular-season series in Miami, Sept. 27-29, but his postseason status remains uncertain. ... Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez threw a bullpen session Monday, but he will not pitch in the series. Hernandez, who is dealing with a left oblique injury, wants to throw at least one more bullpen session before returning to the rotation. He has not started since Sept. 2. ... Detroit had an American League-best .285 average entering the game, while Seattle was last at .239. ... The Mariners had won nine of their previous 11 games at Comerica Park before losing Monday.