After dropping last night’s game despite rallying to make it close late, the Mariners today secured yet another series win by yet again waiting out an opposing starter to get into a club’s bullpen. They didn’t score a run until the sixth inning, then scored another four in the seventh, to knock off the Red Sox, 6-3.
Things didn’t look good early, as the Mariners fell behind 3-0 over the first half of the game. Logan Gilbert didn’t have sharp command of his fastball today, and it cost him in both his pitch count and on the scoreboard. Alex Verdugo again continued his trend of running up a Mariners starter’s pitch count early, working a seven-pitch walk off Gilbert in the first after Gilbert fell behind 2-0 on a pair of fastballs that missed. He’d clear the inning, and the second, holding the Red Sox off the board, but again opened the third with a seven-pitch battle that ended in a walk after falling behind 3-0 on three fastballs that missed. Two batters later, Jarren Duran made him pay for that free pass. Gilbert had Duran in an 0-2 hole before throwing him a split at the bottom of the zone—which is the place to attack Duran, to be clear—that Duran was able to just push over the right field wall (96.8 EV, home run at 18/30 parks) to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
Gilbert ran into the same problem in the fourth when he got ahead of Triston Casas 0-2 and then threw four straight uncompetitive pitches to issue yet another free pass, only to be bailed out by Christian Arroyo grounding into a double play. In the fifth, he struggled with his slider location, hanging a couple for a leadoff double and single to put runners on the corners with no outs. To his credit, Gilbert worked out of the jam allowing just one run, striking out Duran and Verdugo on the slider, and came within inches to being out of the jam scot-free as Masataka Yoshida managed an RBI infield single on a slider that caught just a little too much of the plate.
However, Gilbert would get the next four outs, retiring Devers on a lazy fly ball to limit the damage to a run and then working a 1-2-3 top of the sixth, getting Adam Duvall to expand the zone on a fastball for an easy flyout, finally striking out Casas, who clearly hadn’t been seeing Gilbert well all day despite the walk he worked in the fourth, and getting Arroyo to ground out on the slider. Despite a couple of location mistakes, Gilbert’s slider—which he threw almost exactly as much as his fastball—was easily his best pitch today, tempting hitters into swings about two-thirds of the time. Despite only recording a ho-hum five strikeouts, he currently leads all pitchers today in swing and miss, with 17.
Meanwhile, the Mariners offered little resistance to Kutter Crawford, whose name looks like a white lady wrote it on a chalkboard, going down 1-2-3 in the first on 10 pitches, and working some full counts but otherwise going quietly in the second. Tom Murphy ensured the Mariners wouldn’t be no-hit in the third, lacing a single through the left side of the infield, but Dylan Moore hit the ball 387 feet to the wrong part of the part, missing a two-run birthday blast of his own. J.P. would then work a two-out walk off the lesser Crawford, but Julio struck out looking to end the mini-rally.
The Mariners started off each of the fourth and fifth innings with promise, leading off each time with a single, but each time seeing that early promise flame out like the innings had formerly been enrolled in Gifted and Talented programs. Eugenio singled to start the fourth, only to have Cal fly out (and throw his bat away in disgust!) behind him in a 3-1 count, after which Ty France undid some of those positive strides he’s been making by grounding into an inning-ending double play. The fifth was maybe even more exasperating, as the Mariners had two on with just one out (Teo and Murph singled, Canzone struck out looking on some tough pitches inside), only to have DMo strike out and J.P. fly out harmlessly to end the inning.
But, like your toys coming alive at night after you went to sleep (you know they did), the Mariners offense came alive once the Red Sox bullpen entered the game. Eugenio Suárez greeted reliever John Schreiber with a double, and then Cal got the Mariners on the board against Boston with a two-run home run that was an excellent piece of hitting: a 10-pitch at-bat where he ignored any junk outside the zone, fouled off a bunch of close pitches, protecting with two strikes, and made an adjustment on a pitch he’d already seen in the at-bat—a sinker low in the zone but very much on the plate—to destroy it over the fence for a no-doubter.
Thanks to Gilbert’s second wind in the sixth inning—maybe his sharpest inning of the day—the Mariners were able to hold off getting into their bullpen until the seventh inning, when Matt Brash worked a clean inning with two strikeouts, utterly befuddling the Red Sox hitters he was assigned to get (which, to be fair, was the bottom of Boston’s lineup).
That set up the Mariners to keep the party rolling against Boston’s bullpen. Dominic Canzone, who is good at controlling the zone and not whiffing even if we wish he’d make more authoritative contact, made up for his earlier strikeout by immediately working a four-pitch walk off Schreiber to open the seventh. Tom Murphy, who is hotter right now than an iPhone left in a sunny windowsill, took the first pitch he saw for a single down the left-field line that was actually hit too well to advance Canzone to third. Servais then pinch-hit for DMo with Cade Marlowe, and Alex Cora immediately responded by pulling Schreiber for the lefty Richard Bleier.
But if Cade Marlowe has had to endure all those prospect reports over the years that say “he’s good but So Old” like 25 is Methuselah-aged or something, he at least gets to profit off of it by taking an at-bat like a veteran. Pinch-hitting with the tying run in scoring position, the rookie came up big with a single through the right side.
It’s giving Seth Smith, what with the professional hitter appearances. That brought up Julio, who, hilariously, hit maybe the weakest ball he’s ever hit—a mere 58.3 mph EV—but in doing so, utterly destroyed his bat, sending pieces flying all over the infield and perhaps distracting the left side of the Red Sox infield into booting the play. The play is linked here, but if you’re pressed for data, you’ll just need this screenshot to explain the chaos.
(John: lol they gave him a hit for that? Me: well, attempted murder is a kind of a hit.)
Eugenio Suárez then followed that up with an RBI single, which brings this fun fact to the forefront, for those of you who actually read the game preview posts and don’t just scroll to the bottom to start commenting: that RBI extends Geno’s now eight-game RBI streak, which ties him with Nolan Arenado and Justin Turner for the longest in MLB this season, and is the longest active streak. It also brings up this fun bit of Mariner lore:
Also, fun fact: with that single, Suárez ties the last Mariner to have an eight-game RBI streak, coincidentally the last player to man the hot corner: Kyle Seager, July 25-Aug. 2, 2021, exactly two years ago to the date of Suárez's streak. (thanks @MarinersPR)— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) August 2, 2023
Then, because things weren’t funny enough, Julio and Eugenio executed a double steal, pushing the lead out to 6-3, and capping off the most fun Mariners inning I can remember in...I don’t know how long, drop your suggestions for contenders in the comments.
“Speed, I am speed”— ROOT SPORTS™ | NW (@ROOTSPORTS_NW) August 2, 2023
-Julio, probably pic.twitter.com/FfG6Nk0toF
6-3 is where this one would end, thanks to Gabe Speier, who got two quick outs against the Red Sox’s lefty stack before giving up a single to Devers (and also that at-bat was interrupted by Speier telling Servais he had an upset stomach; he finished the at-bat anyway, because #grinder). Justin Topa came on and got Adam Duvall to end out to quell any threat, and then Andrés Muñoz worked a perfect ninth inning to close out the win.
The Mariners now head to Anaheim for a four-game set that has heavy playoff implications. But they’re heading there on a good note, with a good win, and the knowledge this team does have the DNA to bounce back and find opportunities. It’s hard to ask for much more.