8/3/22

 

Going on the road for a three-game series against the team with the most wins in baseball is already a tough task for any team. Add in that the Seattle Mariners were down their two best offensive players and All-Stars in Julio Rodriguez and Ty France and many would have been happy to just avoid being swept. But the Mariners found themselves entering Wednesday morning in a rubber game against the New York Yankees. At the end of the day, the Mariners were headed back to Seattle as winners after taking the series against the Yankees with a 7-3 win.

Many eyes around the country were on this game and many expected a low scoring, epic pitcher’s duel as Luis Castillo made his Mariners debut against a team he dominated just a couple of weeks ago. The Yankees countered with a former Cy Young winner in Gerrit Cole who is widely viewed as the ace of the Yankees rotation. Neither of the elite hurlers had their best stuff early but one was significantly better in the 1st inning.

Cole and the Yankees would find themselves in hot water early in the morning after Adam Frazier singled to lead off the game followed by a Jesse Winker walk. Eugenio Suarez would then continue to step up in the absence of J-Rod and France on the first pitch he saw. Suarez launched his second home run of the series and his 18th home run of the season to make it 3-0 Mariners.

The next batter would be Carlos Santana coming off a three RBI game on Tuesday. Santana would hit a mile high fly ball but it would carry in the hitter friendly Yankee Stadium and would turn into Santana’s 10th home run of the year. Four batters into the ball game and Seattle had a 4-0 lead.

They still weren’t done in the 1st. J.P. Crawford would single to keep the line moving. Kyle Lewis would then strikeout to give Cole his first out of the ballgame. It would not get Cole rolling yet however as Jarred Kelenic would step up to the plate. Kelenic has struggled mightily to hit in the big leagues but did not struggle here. Kelenic would pull a pitch on the outer half and launch it into the right field bleachers for his fourth home run of the year. The Mariners tagged Cole for six runs in the first inning, a career high for Gerrit Cole.

Luis Castillo had struggled getting run support in Cincinnati this season but was able to be aggressive with the big early lead. After a walk in the second and a stolen base by Andrew Benintendi, the Yankees would strike. Isiah Kiner-Falefa would line one up the middle to make it 6-1 as Benintendi scored easily.

The Yankee catcher Kyle Higashioka would line one towards the left field corner and it looked like the Yankees were rolling. Winker would cut it off and get it in to the relay man Crawford. He would slip so the Yankees tried to score Kiner-Falefa from first but that would be a mistake. Crawford threw a strike into catcher Luis Torrens who tagged Kiner-Falefa out at the plate to end the inning.

After the 2nd inning, both pitchers started looking like the aces that they are. A combined four men reached from the 3rd through the end of the 6th with Castillo and Cole each striking out six in that stretch. Castillo also got help from some fantastic, gold glove caliber defense from J.P. Crawford at shortstop.

New York went to the bullpen in the 7th when they brought in Wandy Peralta. After inducing a double play to erase a leadoff baserunner, Peralta would give up his first extra base hit to a lefty this season when Jesse Winker crushed his 10th home run of the season to extend the Mariner lead to 7-1.

It looked like Luis Castillo would throw an easy 7th inning with a quick two outs, but a couple of borderline pitches didn’t go his away and he would give up a single to Kiner-Falefa after falling behind in the count. Higashioka would then hit a no-doubter for his sixth home run of the season to make it 7-3.

Castillo’s debut was done after that as he finished with a still very solid outing against a team like the Yankees. La Piedra threw 6.2 innings pitched while allowing just five hits and three runs with three walks but eight strikeouts in his team debut. That was exactly what the Mariners were hoping to get Castillo when they paid the high price to bring him to the Pacific Northwest.

Photo by @Mariners Twitter

Seattle’s bullpen would then capitalize on a lineup missing Aaron Judge (day off) and would make it look easy. The trio of Ryan Borucki, Matt Festa, and Paul Sewald would face seven batters and would retire all seven of them to give the Mariners a 7-3 win and possibly their biggest series win of the season.

This series was not only big because the Mariners were visiting the top team in the American League, but they were doing it without their big bats. They got to learn a lot about what the rest of the guys can do and they all stepped up in big ways. The Mariners have heart and they have the same fight that they had last season. All of these players believe in themselves and their team and they have a much better starting rotation than they had last year. This team is different. Seattle went into a playoff-like atmosphere and walked away as winners. Now the rest of the MLB have their eyes on the Mariners and this is a team nobody wants to see in October. Enjoy this Mariner fans. This team is special.

What’s Next

The Mariners (57-49) cut their deficit for the top Wild Card down to just two games with the Toronto loss and stay one game ahead of Tampa Bay who hold the final Wild Card. Seattle now returns home for four games starting Friday with the Los Angeles Angels (44-60) in the first meeting between the teams since the benches clearing brawl on June 26th. Game one on Friday will pit Robbie Ray (8-8, 4.11 ERA) against Patrick Sandoval (3-7, 3.61 ERA) for the Angels in a battle of lefties in the opener. The Yankees (70-36) will head on a tough road trip to try to bounce back. In game one of three against the St. Louis Cardinals (55-48), the Yankees will start Nestor Cortes (9-3, 2.53 ERA) against Dakota Hudson (6-6, 4.10 ERA) for the Redbirds.

Top Performers

Mariners

  • Eugenio Suarez- 1-4, HR, 3 RBI, R
  • Jarred Kelenic- 1-4, HR, 2 RBI, R
  • J.P. Crawford- 2-4, R, Phenomenal Defense
  • Luis Castillo (W, 5-4)- 6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO

Yankees

  • Kyle Higashioka- 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, R
  • Isiah Kiner-Falefa- 2-3, RBI, R
  • Gerrit Cole (L, 9-4)- 6 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO

 

Roster Moves & Updates

  • Ty France is expected to return to the Mariners lineup on Friday in the opener against the Angels.
  • Mitch Haniger is now hitting .250 in his rehab stint in Tacoma.
  • Eugenio Suarez won the Mariners Heart & Hustle Award on Thursday. The award, “…is voted on by Alumni and active Major League players and is presented annually to an active player who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game.” For the entire list with each team’s winner check out the link below.
  • Heart & Hustle Award | Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association | MLB.com
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