Once again due to a busy weekend schedule for myself, this will be another very short series recap. I normally dive deeper into individual games, but again high school sports always come first for us. With that being said, let’s dive into the final non-division road series of the 2023 regular season.

Mariners 1, Rays 0 (Game 1)

In the opener of the four-game series, it was very fast paced pitcher’s duel as Luis Castillo took on Zack Littell. While Littell stayed in the game longer, it would go down as a win for La Piedra. One run would be enough for the Mariners in this one. That run came early with well executed at bats for the M’s. A double to start the top of the 2nd inning by Eugenio Suarez turned into the game winner. Ty France moved Geno to third with a groundout to second. With just one out, Mike Ford shot a grounder up the middle for a base hit. Geno scored and that would be all of the offense we saw in this game.

Luis Castillo didn’t just absolutely dominate like we have seen him do so many times. But he did show that he can still put together a fantastic outing while also digging down deep. Of course the Rays lineup is one of the most tricky lineups to navigate through. Castillo would navigate it with six innings of scoreless pitching with just four hits allowed. He did allow four walks but also countered with eight strikeouts. Castillo is known for getting stronger as the season goes on and it looks like he might be headed to another strong finish down the stretch. The bullpen threw the final three innings and did not allow a hit. An error, a hit batter, and a walk did put some pressure on late but the trio of Isaiah Campbell, Matt Brash, and Andrés Muñoz hung on down the stretch to give the Mariners the opener with a 1-0.

Rays 7, Mariners 4 (Game 2)

It was a tale of two different halves of the game in the second game of the series. The first six innings, the Mariners looked really strong. After George Kirby fell behind 2-0 in the bottom of the 1st, Seattle’s offense helped out their young starter. Eugenio Suarez got the M’s going with his 19th home run of the season in the top of the 2nd. Dylan Moore shortly followed with an RBI double to tie the game later. A couple more home runs added to the Mariner lead as Julio Rodriguez hit his 28th of the season and Cal Raleigh added his 27th to the scoreboard as well to make it 4-2 Mariners.

In the final three innings, things fell apart. Kirby had some controversial comments about pitching in the 7th, but it was more due to the results. Rene Pinto tied the game with a two-run shot and his fourth of the season. Later in the bottom of the 7th, Isaiah Campbell gave up a two-run shot to Harold Ramirez to give Tampa Bay the lead. Isaac Paredes would later add his 29th home run of the season to make it 7-4 as the Rays would win by that same final in what turned into a home run derby.

Rays 7, Mariners 5 (Game 3)

Bullpen issues continued to plague the Mariners in the nationally televised game on Saturday. A three-run top of the 1st was capped off by a two-run single for Ty France to make it 3-0 before the bullpen day could even begin. A solo home run for Julio Rodriguez made it 29 on the season for J-Rod and had the M’s on top 4-1. Seattle decided to skip Bryan Woo’s spot in the rotation and an already overworked bullpen was just not capable of hanging on to this one.

Tampa Bay began the comeback against Luke Weaver with a two-run double in the bottom of the 5th by Brandon Lowe. Weaver is the innings eater in the bullpen, so he stayed in the game despite the lead being trimmed to just one. In the bottom of the 7th, he just ran out of gas. An RBI single for Taylor Walls tied the game and a Yandy Diaz pinch-hit double gave the Rays a 5-4 lead. Seattle capitalized on a wild pitch to tie the game in the 8th, but it would end up being a walk-off victory for Tampa Bay. Diaz again dealt a big blow with a walk-off two run homer to sink the Mariners 7-5.

Rays 6, Mariners 3 (Game 4)

Finally, in the finale the Mariners were just outplayed. Bryce Miller never really got going for the Mariners as doubles by Harold Ramirez and Josh Lowe had the Rays up 3-0 after just an inning of play. Luke Raley added a two-run double in the third to make it 5-0 before the M’s began to fight back. RBI singles by Josh Rojas and Sam Haggerty made it 5-2. Seattle then began to bring the tying run to the plate multiple times but couldn’t get the home run ball. Eugenio Suarez added a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.

Unfortunately, the Mariners couldn’t get to the Tampa Bay bullpen. An RBI single for Christian Bethancourt put the finishing touches on a 6-3 win for the Rays and gave Tampa Bay a 3-1 series victory.

The room for error is getting smaller and smaller for the Seattle Mariners (79-64) as they are now 2 1/2 games behind Houston for the division lead and have fallen behind Toronto for the second Wild Card spot. The M’s still hold the final Wild Card spot but just by half of a game over the Texas Rangers. Seattle will now return home to host both Los Angeles teams starting with the Angels (67-77) on Monday night at 6:40pm. Logan Gilbert (13-5, 3.61 ERA) will open the three-game series for the Mariners as he looks to continue the Mariner luck with him on the mound. Since the beginning of July, the Mariners have won 10 of 12 games started by Gilbert. Lefty, Reid Detmers (3-10, 4.82 ERA) will get the start for the Angels in the opener of the series. Detmers was lit up the last time he faced the Mariners by giving up seven runs on nine hits.

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