Mariners 15, Royals 2
(Seattle, WA) In 2023, the Seattle Mariners have won games in unique ways. You might look at the numbers and think, “There is just no way they won this game.” Like just one week ago when the M’s beat the Houston Astros while going 0-17 with runners in scoring position. Then you get to games like Saturday against the Kansas City Royals where the numbers tell a different story. Seven home runs were hit by the Seattle Mariners which tied a franchise record that has been matched in 1985, 1996, 1999, and 2002. The numbers did tell the entire story as Seattle routed Kansas City 15-2 for their biggest blowout win since 2019.
Jordan Lyles did not fare too well in his first start against the Mariners less than two weeks ago, giving up four home runs in a short outing in Kansas City. This one seemed to be going better as Lyles matched Gilbert to keep the game scoreless going into the bottom of the 3rd. That’s when the Mariner bats came to life in a massive way. Josh Rojas led off the inning and got the home run party started with a line drive down the right field line that just stayed fair for a solo home run. It was the third home run for Rojas of the season with all of them coming in the last two weeks as Seattle took a 1-0 lead.
That was only the beginning of the inning for the M’s as things then got out of hand. J.P. Crawford followed Rojas with his 27th double of the season. After Julio Rodriguez grounded out for the first out, Eugenio Suarez and Cal Raleigh both walked to load the bases for Teoscar Hernandez. In what has been a frustrating first season with the Mariners for Teo, the former silver slugger let out some frustration in this one. Hernandez pulled a sinker on the inside corner into the Royals bullpen at 105-mph for a grand slam, the fourth of the season for the Mariners. Teo’s 20th home run of the season broke things open as the Mariners took a 5-0 lead.
With two outs, Dominic Canzone extended the inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch with Mike Ford at the plate. Then would come the finishing touches on the Mariners big inning. Mike Ford put the bow on it by lining a hanging changeup out to right field for a two-run shot and his 13th home run of the season. The third home run of the inning for the Mariners cut Lyles outing short and turned this one into a blowout early with the Mariners leading after three, 7-0.
One inning later, Teoscar Hernandez came up to the plate with the bases loaded again. Kansas City reliever Jackson Kowar walked the bases loaded as J.P. Crawford, Julio Rodriguez, and Cal Raleigh all got free passes. With one out, Teo was looking for his second grand slam of the game. He wouldn’t hit the ball as hard this time. A very soft grounder to Maikel Garcia at third would result in a fielder’s choice as Garcia cut down Raleigh at second while Crawford scored. While it wouldn’t be another grand slam, it would be another RBI for Teoscar as the Mariners lead grew to 8-0.
Lost in the home run party was how great Logan Gilbert threw the ball on the mound. The only blemish on his day was Drew Waters launching a no-doubter for a solo shot and his eighth home run of the season. That shot made it 8-1 in the 5th but other than that, Logan Gilbert dominated. After having some problems putting away Royal hitters in his start in Kansas City, Gilbert made some adjustments and they paid off. His slider seemed to be his out pitch as 10 of his 21 outs recorded were on his slider. Logan allowed just two hits and one run over seven really great innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. Gilbert also kept his pitch count down which gave the bullpen a little recovery after being used fairly heavily in game one. Just like that they were back on track thanks to another strong Logan Gilbert outing.
Kansas City’s first run did not help them out too much as Seattle got it right back and then some. In the bottom of the 5th, Kowar quickly recorded two outs as he looked to breeze through his second inning of work. Josh Rojas made him work a bit harder with a two-out single to center. With Rojas on second after a passed ball, J.P. Crawford drove in his first RBI of the day. A shot into right field got down for a single as Rojas pedaled home to make it 9-1. Then came home run number four for the Mariners. Julio Rodriguez wasn’t going to just watch the home run party. He had to be a part of it. J-Rod got a slider that caught way too much of the plate and sent it 410-feet to left for his 22nd home run of the season. Julio was staying hot as were the rest of the Mariners as they led 11-1.
Angel Zerpa was the third pitcher in for Kansas City but he couldn’t slow down the Seattle offense either in the bottom of the 6th. Known more for his power from the left side of the plate, Cal Raleigh showed that he can still go deep from the right hand side as well to lead off the inning. Raleigh continued to inch closer to his career high in home runs as he sent his 25th of the season out to left for a solo shot to make it 12-1 as the home run total grew to five for the M’s.
While Gilbert had thrown is final inning in the top of the 7th, Seattle gave him a little more run support after the 7th inning stretch in the home half of the inning. Mike Ford remained on first after a lead off walk as Cade Marlowe dug in with two outs. Marlowe has cooled off a bit since his debut but that didn’t mean he would let new pitcher Tucker Davidson enjoy a scoreless outing. Marlowe got a 2-2 fastball at the top of the zone and drove it to straightaway center field. He got enough on it for his third home run of the season as the rookie got involved in the historic day for the Mariners with the two-run shot. By the time Logan Gilbert was officially out of the game, the Mariner lead was 14-1.
A couple of doubles by Samad Taylor and Maikel Garcia plated a run for the Royals in the top of the 8th to make it 14-2. So the Mariners had to get that run back against infielder Matt Duffy who had to pitch the bottom of the 8th for the Royals to avoid using anymore of their bullpen. It was more like batting practice for Teoscar Hernandez as he was swinging for the fences and was rewarded for hit. His second home run of the game and 21st of the season traveled 446-feet to left to make it 15-2 Mariners. That would be the final score as Trent Thornton recorded three strikeouts in the top of the 9th to seal another series win for the Mariners over the Royals.
While Seattle earned the win, Texas, Houston, and Toronto all also won to keep the Mariners and Rangers tied atop the AL West, one game ahead of Houston. The next order of business for Seattle (73-56) will be to complete the sweep of the Kansas City Royals (41-90) on Sunday at 1:10pm. Luis Castillo (10-7, 3.15 ERA) will look to win his fourth straight decision after getting 38 runs of support in his four starts this month, including 14 his last time out in Chicago. Alec Marsh (0-6, 5.56 ERA) will look to eat some innings for a now depleted Royals bullpen after having to use a lot of different pitchers on Saturday. Marsh had an opener in his start against the Mariners in Kansas City but pitched well in his five innings as he allowed just one run on four hits but did walk five while striking out six.
- Drew Waters- 1-3, HR, RBI, R, BB
- Maikel Garcia- 1-3, 2B, RBI, BB
- Jordan Lyles (L, 3-15)- 3 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO
- Teoscar Hernandez- 2-5, 2 HRs, 6 RBI, 2 R
- Mike Ford- 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB
- Logan Gilbert (W, 12-5)- 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO