Mariners 5, Rangers 0

(Seattle, WA) Great pitching has been the story for the Seattle Mariners over the last week but the offense has been the big issue as the team continues to struggle to get above .500. With the first place Texas Rangers in town, Seattle needed to take game two to give them a good chance to win the series with their ace on the mound in the finale. Once again, they would get a fantastic outing from starter George Kirby and put together more than enough offense as Seattle shutout one of the best lineups in baseball in a 5-0 victory Tuesday night.

George Kirby got through the first three innings with relative ease. Texas put runners on the corners once, but with two outs, Kirby was able to escape. In the bottom of the 3rd, Tom Murphy gave a ball a ride out to left field and it went just off the edge of the glove of Josh H. Smith for Murphy’s fourth double of the season to leadoff the inning. After Jose Caballero lined out, Sam Haggerty singled to right field. Murphy got the stop sign at third but right fielder Adolis Garcia fired a rocket home and Haggerty took second on the throw to put runners on second and third with one out. Julio Rodriguez continued to struggle as he hit a shallow pop fly into right field that was not deep enough to score Murphy. With two outs, Ty France continued his stretch of great hitting. France hit a grounder into left field to get Seattle on the board. Haggerty scored as well as Smith’s throw from left field hit France’s bat that was laying next to home plate which gave Seattle a break as the M’s took a 2-0 lead.

Kirby really rolled through innings 4-7. A couple of times Texas would get a baserunner with two outs, but Kirby just controlled the strike zone and worked ahead continuously. The Mariner battery of Kirby and Murphy drove the win but Kirby made sure that the offense didn’t need to do too much. Kirby went seven shutout innings, allowing six hits with no walks, again, and nine strikeouts. Kirby has now gone at least seven innings in three straight starts. Over those starts, the second year righty has gone 22 innings, allowing just four runs on 17 hits with just two walks and 18 strikeouts. Kirby is quickly becoming one of the very best young pitchers in all of baseball.

Photo by @Mariners Twitter

The other half of the battery provided more power in the bottom of the 7th. A throwing error by third baseman Josh Jung allowed AJ Pollock to reach first to begin the home half of the 7th. Tom Murphy dug in next and Andrew Heaney made really the only mistake of his outing. A 3-1 changeup hung right in the middle of the plate and Murphy did not miss it. The veteran catcher launched his first home run of 2023 into the Mariner bullpen for a two-run shot. That gave Seattle much more breathing room with a 4-0 lead.

After a scoreless 8th for Justin Topa, the M’s managed one more insurance run in the bottom of the 8th. A leadoff single by Ty France was followed by Jarred Kelenic’s 11th double of the season to put runners on second and third with nobody out. Eugenio Suarez hit a hard grounder with the infield in, which didn’t allow a run to score. After Teoscar Hernandez walked to load the bases, AJ Pollock drove a ball deep to right field which sent Adolis Garcia all the way to the warning track. Garcia would make the catch but France scored easily on the sacrifice fly to make it 5-0 M’s going into the 9th.

Juan Then, pronounced “Ten”, made his second major league appearance looking to lockdown the win. Josh Jung and Jonah Heim were both sat down on strikeouts to begin the inning. After Leody Taveras reached on an infield single, Then would finish off the win. Former Mariner, Brad Miller grounded out to defensive replacement Kolten Wong for a routine final out giving the Mariners a 5-0 win.

With the win, the Mariners (18-18) and Rangers (21-14) will now meet in the rubber game of the three-game series on Wednesday at 12:40pm. Mariner ace Luis Castillo (2-0, 2.38 ERA) will try to get the Mariners their third straight series victory in the finale. Dane Dunning (2-0, 1.42 ERA) will make his second start of the season for Texas after being moved from the bullpen back to the rotation with the injury to Jacob deGrom.

Matt’s Takeaways

George Kirby is unbelievable. There was less hype about this class of Mariner pitching prospects as compared to the big trio of James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, and Danny Hultzen. This group, so far, has been unquestionably better. Kirby, Logan Gilbert, and Bryce Miller are still adjusting to the major league level. They are still getting better. If this is not even the ceiling yet, the pitching is set up for the next decade plus. Kirby is so special because he doesn’t walk batters. He lives in the zone, trusts his catcher, and makes the opposing lineup adjust to what he is doing. There is such a quiet confidence about this group and with veterans Luis Castillo and Marco Gonzales providing the electric emotions, the rotation is prepared to contend for the AL West crown. It is up to the lineup now.

Notable Performances


  • Josh H. Smith- 2-3, 2B
  • Jonah Heim- 2-4
  • Andrew Heaney (L, 2-3)- 6.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO


  • George Kirby (W, 4-2)- 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO
  • Tom Murphy- 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB
  • Ty France- 2-4, 2 RBI, R


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