Mariners 9, Orioles 2
(Seattle, WA) There are different levels to a winning streak that can determine just how impressive that streak is. A team could beat up on basement dwellers that stay at the bottom of the standings and those aren’t nearly as impressive. For the Seattle Mariners though, their win streak has come against some Wild Card contenders which makes that seven game winning streak a little more impressive. For the first time since before the All-Star Break, the Mariners were taking on a World Series contender when they opened a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night. The tougher competition did not matter for the M’s as Luis Castillo threw six very strong innings and the offense poured it on the O’s as Seattle made it eight straight wins with a 9-2 blowout.
After Luis Castillo threw an easy top of the 1st, Cedric Mullins made his return from the IL for Baltimore by robbing Julio Rodriguez of extra bases to begin the bottom of the 1st. Eugenio Suarez then smoked a grounder by Gunnar Henderson at short for the first hit of the ball game. Then came the big hit from the Big Dumper. Cal Raleigh got a 1-1 fastball right down the middle and didn’t miss any part of it. Cal crushed his 20th home run of the season with a two-run missile into the right field stands. Just like that, Seattle had grabbed a 2-0 lead.
More power came in the 4th for both sides but it all started for Baltimore with their first batter of the inning. Anthony Santander has really hurt the Mariners this season after a three-game series in Baltimore back in June and he continued that success in this one. Santander blasted the first pitch of the inning for Luis Castillo out to right field for his 21st home run of the season. Baltimore had some life all of a sudden as the Mariner lead was trimmed down to 2-1.
That one-run lead grew exponentially in the bottom of the 4th for the M’s. Ty France, Dominic Canzone, and Cade Marlowe all singled to load the bases with nobody out. Due to personal matters, Dylan Moore was a very late scratch from the lineup which meant Jose Caballero would start at short for J.P. Crawford who was placed on the 7-day concussion IL. Caballero had a good day and got an RBI here with a sacrifice fly to center to score France and make it 3-1. Canzone moved up to third on the flyout as well to put runners on the corners. Josh Rojas finally got the weight off his shoulders with his first base hit as a Mariner and his first RBI as well. Rojas ripped a liner into right field to score Canzone and make it 4-1. Marlowe moved up to third on the Rojas single as well, but it would not matter. Julio Rodriguez continued his incredible stretch with an incredible swing to score everybody. A sinker that was more so down and in than anything else was somehow driven out to right field by the reigning Rookie of the Year. It just snuck over the wall for an opposite field home run and J-Rod’s 19th long ball of the season. The three-run blast busted things open a bit as Seattle had a 7-1 lead.
The ball wasn’t done flying yet either for Seattle. In the bottom of the 5th, another resurgent Mariner crushed one as well. Ty France went down and got a sinker and sent it 402-feet above the scoreboard in left field for a solo shot. Home run number nine for France kept the lead growing all the way to 8-1.
Luis Castillo finished his day a little earlier than you’d expect when reading his line, but battled through some three ball counts and some foul balls to hang up a very strong final line. After being torched in Anaheim despite being given a lot of run support his last time out, La Piedra got plenty of support again and this time held up his end of the deal and then some. It was fitting that the opening game of Felix Hernandez Weekend saw an ace like performance on the mound by a Mariner. Castillo went six innings and just allowed one run on two hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. It was just the outing the Mariners needed to help earn them a much less stressful win than we have seen the last few days.
Offensively, the Mariners continued to take care of business into the bottom of the 6th. A one out blooper dropped between three Orioles down the left field line and resulted in a double for Josh Rojas, giving him his 14th double of the season. J-Rod followed with a double of his own as he smashed one down the left field line. It would be the 25th double of Julio’s sophomore season and allowed Rojas to score, making it 9-1.
Trent Thornton would get the ball in the top of the 9th and didn’t have his best outing but still gave a solid effort. A double for Ryan O’Hearn was sandwiched between a couple of outs as Seattle looked to put away the opener. A walk for Ryan Mountcastle extended the game and brought Jordan Westburg to the plate as the O’s last chance. Westburg ended up dropping a single into left field for a base hit to score O’Hearn and make it 9-2. That would be all for Baltimore as Thornton struck out Ramon Urias for the final out and Seattle began the celebration of their eighth straight win by a final of 9-2.
With a chance to make it nine straight wins and an opportunity to take a series against the team with the best record in the American League, Seattle (63-52) will have another All-Star on the mound in game two on Saturday at 6:40pm. George Kirby (10-8, 3.32 ERA) has been extremely impressive in his last two outings against Boston and Los Angeles. Kirby only allowed two runs in 12 innings in those two starts on seven hits and two walks to twelve strikeouts. For Baltimore (71-45), it will be a pitcher that Mariner fans have not been too fond of after comments he made about the Mariners became a rally cry for both the team and the fans. Cole Irvin (1-3, 5.44 ERA) insulted the Mariners a couple of years ago when he said nobody should ever allow ten hits to “a team like that,” after a rough outing against Seattle. In his career against the Mariners, Irvin is 0-6 with an 8.42 ERA, allowing 25 runs on 41 hits in 25 2/3 innings. Irvin will hope to fix his issues against “a team like that” in his first start against them since joining the Orioles this last offseason.
- Anthony Santander- 1-4, HR, RBI, R
- Jordan Westburg- 1-2, RBI
- Kyle Gibson (L, 11-7)- 5.1 IP, 12 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
- Julio Rodriguez- 2-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, R
- Ty France- 2-4, HR, RBI, 2 R
- Luis Castillo (W, 8-7)- 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO