The Mariners scored five earned runs on 10 hits off Tigers' starter Max Scherzer, who is as inconsistent as the Michigan weather in spring.
The Tigers charged back into the game with home runs off the bats of Alex Avila (two-run blast in the fourth) and Miguel Cabrera (solo shot in the fifth), but the Mariners' Alex Lidde responded with a solo homer of his own in the seventh to extend the M's lead to 6-4 before adding on an insurance run in the ninth off Phil Coke.
Mariners' starter Jason Vargas picked up the win, although he gave up four earned in six innings, the most runs the Tigers have scored off a starter since April 8. Brandon League picked up his sixth save of the season in the ninth with the help of a pair of nice plays by shortstop Munenori Kawasaki.
The second game of the series is Wednesday night with former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez toeing the rubber against Adam Wilk.