Second Straight Series Win in SF, Onto Houston to Close out First Half

A Tommy Milone spot start Wednesday where the offense was nowhere to be found wiped out the sweep, but it seems like Seattle is ending the first half of the season on the right note. Of course, when there is any good momentum, the M’s always find themselves with their bi-seasonal tough task of facing the Houston Astros in Minute Maid Park. This is the case beginning tonight, with a four-game stop in H-Town before Seattle is filled with sun, celebrities, and All-Stars (including now three of their own) at the beginning of next week. However, a series-opening win on Monday and a complete game shutout on Independence Day helped the M’s climb back up to the .500 mark, temporarily, as it was their second consecutive series win against an above average team. Before we look ahead to the ‘Stros, here is a look back at all three in the Bay against the San Francisco Giants.

Rookie Bryan Woo was on the mound in Oracle Park to begin the series up against righty Logan Webb Monday night.

Scoreless with many strikeouts on both sides until the fourth inning, it was Teoscar Hernandez who was able to scamper home on a Webb wild pitch. But in the home half, San Fran’s Blake Sabol launched a two-run shot beyond the fence in center field to give the Giants the lead.

Other than the home run, Woo was electric again for Seattle. The California-native, and Cal Poly graduate was able to go six complete innings, allowing just three hits while striking out seven in front of a large group of family and friends. In his last five starts, Woo has been all that M’s fans hoped for when he burst on the scene in Spring Training, with a 2.36 ERA and 35 strikeouts. With the injuries to both Robbie Ray and Marco Gonzales, Bryan Woo and Bryce Miller who have filled the void nicely, are likely to be extremely limited, if not completely shut down sometime in the second half to preserve both of the young pitchers’ arms in their first MLB season.

The ninth inning was something else… on both sides. Seattle was able to push four runs across on a sacrifice fly by J.P., a two-RBI double by Julio and an RBI single by Teo to give Seattle a 6-2 advantage. Closer Paul Sewald came in to finish this one once and for all in the bottom half.

Seattle Mariners v San Francisco Giants

Teoscar Hernandez was all smiles with First Base Coach Kristopher Negrón after his RBI single Monday night. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

In what was not an initial save opportunity, the Giants were able to get two on in front of Sabol. He did none other than get SF within one on his second home run of the ballgame. Now certainly a save opportunity, Wilmer Flores reached on a single as the winning run in long-time Giant Brandon Crawford dug in.

Paul was able to get the veteran to strikeout swinging and end what was quite the interesting finish. But a win is a win, and it was Seattle’s third in a row heading into Independence Day.

Fourth of July Tuesday, and it was the thin man, Logan Gilbert facing righty Keaton Winn, who was making just his second career start.

The M’s got to Winn early and often. Jarred Kelenic brought home J.P. in the first on a fielder’s choice, Mike Ford scored on a wild pitch in the second, and then in the third Ford (4-5 on the day, which also happened to be his birthday) muscled a solo home run over the high wall in right.

As the Mariners continued to add on to their run total throughout the game, the offensive output was secondary to Gilbert’s performance. Logan became the first Mariner since Yusei Kikuchi in 2019 to throw a complete game shutout. He gave up only five hits, struck out seven, and didn’t allow any free passes.

Seattle Mariners v San Francisco Giants

Logan Gilbert does his best Luis Castillo celebration impression after throwing his first complete game shutout of his young career. (Photo by Brandon Sloter/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

His emotion was in full display moments after he struck out SF’s Mike Yastrzemski to end the ballgame. A 6-0 victory led to Logan’s first invitation to the infield dance circle. This victory got the M’s back to .500, and it was their fourth consecutive win since the abomination that was Friday night against the Rays.

Like mentioned above, Julio Rodriguez accepted his second invitation to the All-Star game, but he wasn’t alone. Second year starter George Kirby got his first invite as well Tuesday.

Vibes were high going into the finale Wednesday night. It was a spot start for Tommy Milone and the Mariners (filling in for Bryce Miller who was put on the 15-Day Injured List). Savvy veteran Alex Cobb toed the rubber for the Giants.

Not too much to write home about Wednesday. In Milone’s second spot start of the year, he was able to maneuver around plenty of Giant traffic on the basepaths, and go 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned). The bullpen did their job keeping it close, but the M’s offense was nowhere to be found. Nine strikeouts combined paired with just seven hits led to the Seattle offense not scoring Wednesday.

It was a 2-0 M’s loss, where the veteran Alex Cobb earned his sixth win of the season.

One more series to close out the first half… and it is the dreaded Houston Astros. A four-gamer beginning Thursday night against the team who swept Seattle in the American League Division Series last October. The ‘Stros rank second in the MLB in team ERA and are right in the middle in team batting average. They recently took a four-game series against the AL West-leading Texas Rangers have won four straight and are now only two games back of leading the division.

Rick Rizzs mentioned on the radio broadcast that the team would arrive in Houston around 4:30 AM Thursday and then have to turn around and play at 5:10 PM PST. Dusty Baker has yet to announce the starter for the Astros today at the time of this article.

Pitching probables for SEA @ HOU:

  • Thurs 7/6, 5:10 PM: ‘23 All-Star RHP George Kirby (7-7, 3.21 ERA) vs. TBA
  • Fri 7/7, 5:10 PM: ’23 All-Star RHP Luis Castillo (5-6, 3.05 ERA) vs. RHP Hunter Brown (6-5, 3.76 ERA)
  • Sat 7/8, 4:15 PM: RHP Bryan Woo (1-1, 4.08 ERA) vs. ‘23 All-Star LHP Framber Valdez (7-6, 2.49 ERA)
  • Sun 7/9, 11:10 AM: RHP Logan Gilbert (6-5, 3.82 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon Bielak (4-4, 3.81 ERA)

American League West standings as of Thursday morning:

  • 1.Texas Rangers (51-36)
  • 2.Houston Astros (49-38), 2.0 GB
  • 3.Los Angeles Angels (45-44), 7.0 GB
  • 4.Seattle Mariners (42-43), 8.0 GB
  • 5.Oakland Athletics (25-63), 5-5 in L10

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