With the AL’s leading Orioles in town, King Felix in the building, the stadium lit up in City Connect colors, and 36,203 fans eager to watch some fireworks on and off the field, the Mariners opened Félix Weekend with a 9-2 victory as the outcome of the game was never really in doubt. . It was the Mariners’ eighth straight win, the first time they had recorded an eight-game winning streak since their 14-game winning streak the previous July that helped propel the team into the playoffs.
The Mariners made some noise from Kyle Gibson early on, as Julio opened a ball to deep center as Cedric Mullins played an athletic jumper, throwing a “no fly zone” sign at J-Rod Squad. After Eugenio Suarez was mentioned, Mullins couldn’t do anything about this monster blasting off Cal Raleigh’s bat:
The Mariners kept the pressure on Gibson in the second, though they couldn’t manufacture a single run out of a one-out from Cady Marlowe followed by a single from Jose Caballero, pressed for service because Dylan Moore had a late scratch personal problem, as Josh Rojas swooped in on a play Double to end the inning.
However, Gibson’s early stress pitches paid off in a big way in the fourth, when the Mariners hung five runs over the O, making it consecutive games where they scored five or more runs in an inning, something they haven’t done since June of last season. Ty France kicked off with my favorite thing about Ty France: hitting an inside court hit. It’s like watching a dog play the piano and it won’t stop making me happy. Then Dominic Kanzon singled after Gunnar Henderson dipped the shortstop, and Cady Marlowe hit a curveball on the first pitch for his single. Josh Rojas then got his first hit as a Mariners, breaking 0-for-14 in stretches that he probably felt longer than anyone else.
With the lead up to 4-1, Julio decided there wasn’t enough breathing room and put one up where Mullins couldn’t get it back:
O’s chose to have Gibson wear a starter for the night rather than capitalize on the game early, and then, Ty France chose to make Brandon Hyde pay for that decision:
For me, given the strength in the O’s lineup, it didn’t feel like the game wasn’t in the “laughing zone” yet, even with an 8-1 lead. Josh Rojas’ first “double” as a Mariner and an inning later, in fact, made me laugh (can one double when it’s dark outside?), and also pushed the game into indisputably funny territory when he brought home Julio Rojas in a double to make it 9-1. He finally knocks Gibson, who has been left to roll with the wind in the last few innings, out of the game. Jacob Webb only managed to contain the damage for one round, hitting Eugenio and Cal, Triple-A call-up Nick Vespi also worked scoreless, but at this point the damage was, like the way Kyle Gibson might have liked his steak, well done .
Of course, tonight, only a one-run lead would have been safe in La Piedra’s hands, as Luis Castillo handled the powerful Orioles lineup with confidence, working six innings and allowing only one run, a solo homer, while striking out eight. He also passed another career milestone, reaching 1,000 home runs with this game. On a weekend where we remember an amazing franchise for their contributions to this team, it’s also nice to see some history being made before our eyes.
Castillo did not have the most efficient first innings despite only allowing a walk while making five strikeouts: those six strikeouts cost him 43 total runs. Castillo’s pace in the first half was electric, with 99 touchdowns, but even more exciting was that he threw three changeups and caught three swings, with two outs. Once a staple of his set, Castillo’s switchback has taken a backseat to his other pitches lately, but tonight he’s been able to use it to get several weak ground balls, enticing the Orioles to swing at it more than half the time.
After a faster third inning in which Castillo worked around the Orioles’ first hit of the night—a snicker down the first base line off Ramón Urías’ batter, with a 0.220 xBA total—Castillo opened the fourth inning by giving up a first pitch homer to Anthony Santander, who pounced on the slider in the inning. bottom of the region. However, that would be all the Orioles could do against Castillo tonight, baiting batters into the O to reach pitches for easy pitches or low-pressure moves, as well as having them chase batters, either on a high fastball or chase after . slider. After needing 43 pitches in his first two innings, Castillo pitched the next four innings on 58 total pitches, settling into a comfortable rhythm even as Oriole hitters became more aggressive.
Castillo is fond of saying the game speaks to him, and he listens, making adjustments as he goes and seeing how hitters react to his pitches. This may partly be the reason he seems to get longer in the first and second innings, as he gets a feel for his stock as well as how batters respond to him — and fan response plays a role, says team interpreter Freddy Lanos.
Tyler Saucedo took seventh and worked a stellar 1-2-3 run including this exciting out-of-place hitch across the street at Lumen Field last night. Sauce, a huge Seahawks fan, was in attendance, so he might have gotten some tips in the game.
With the Mariners enjoying a comfortable lead, Servais was finally able to summon Ryder Ryan from the battlefield. Ryan, who has a younger brother who also plays baseball named River, was called up again in the eighth but had to wait until tonight to finally make his MLB debut, after eight years in the minors and four different organizations. He made it in style, too, hitting Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson.
A crime that seems to be firing on all cylinders even when some key parts are missing, strong performances from the show’s cast, and a feel-good start. And fireworks? Often, as Mariners fans, we don’t get it all, but tonight, with the Mariners tied for half a game from Toronto in the Wild Card race with the Blue Jays losing to the Cubs, it really felt like a cup of gratitude was overflowing. No, like really: Julio came back and won this fan 100,000 free miles on Alaska Airlines!
That’s just the way this team was: when things are good, things are great. And when those goodies are driven by your franchise’s stars and young core, things are even better.
But don’t tell Julio it’s just a hotline.
“I don’t think we’re hot. I just feel like we’re now playing baseball that we all knew we could play. Because we had the talent, it just didn’t happen. Well, it’s happening now. Everyone’s doing what they want to do. And I feel like that’s what everyone’s seeing now in Field: The Seattle Mariners team we knew we could be.”
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images
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