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Verlander, Iwakuma square off at Safeco

(SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Verlander will look to pitch himself out of a recent slump on Friday night when his Detroit Tigers play the first of three straight games against the hosting Seattle Mariners.

Verlander did not allow more than three earned runs in any of his first eight outings, going 4-2 with a 2.687 earned run average, but has been drilled for 16 earned runs over 17 1/3 frames in his last three starts.

The 31-year-old righty is 1-2 with an 8.31 ERA over his slump and lost his second start in a row on Sunday versus Texas. Verlander was charged with nine runs -- six earned -- on 11 hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings.

"Obviously it wasn't a good day, but turn the page," Verlander said after his season ERA moved to 4.04.

Verlander will face the Mariners for the 18th time in his career and is 9-8 against them with a 3.38 ERA.

Like Verlander, the Tigers also are trying to get out of a slump. They held on for a 5-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday, splitting a four-game series and improving to 3-8 since winning six in a row from May 12-18.

Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez each knocked in a pair of runs, but closer Joe Nathan gave up two runs in the ninth inning to make it close before retiring Jed Lowrie to end the game with the winning run aboard.

Nathan had given up a game-ending three-run homer the previous night.

Detroit was minus outfielder Rajai Davis due to a sore left shoulder, but he was available off the bench.

Seattle was also minus a player on Thursday as second baseman Robinson Cano was a scratch due to feeling ill. He had started each of the Mariners' 52 games before Thursday.

Without the slugger, Seattle suffered a 7-5 setback to the Los Angeles of Anaheim for their fourth loss in six games.

Michael Saunders hit a two-run home run and drove in three, while Kyle Seager added a two-run homer in defeat.

Brandon Maurer was touched for five runs on six hits with four walks in just four innings of work.

"I thought (Maurer) was going to put together a good game early on but that fourth inning got him," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said of his starter. "We battled back, just not enough."

McClendon will try to get some innings tonight out of starter Hisashi Iwakuma, who is 3-1 with a 2.39 ERA on the year.

After giving up just two total runs over his previous three outings, the 33- year-old righty gave up four on nine hits and two homers over seven frames of a 4-1 loss to Houston on Sunday.

Iwakuma is 1-0 lifetime versus Detroit in three meetings, including two starts. In that span, he has held the Tigers to one run over 17 innings.

The Tigers on five of seven last season against the Mariners.

05/30 10:34:06 ET