M’s Winners Sunday, But Losers in First Series of Second Half

Coming off of hosting the 2023 All-Star game, Seattle looked to keep their late first half momentum rolling into a home series against the Detroit Tigers. Instead, both of Seattle’s All-Star pitchers, Luis Castillo and George Kirby, were rocked pretty hard in their starts on Friday and Saturday. Both of those games ended in M’s defeats, but they were able to bounce back and salvage a victory Sunday to close out the series.

In comes the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins for four games starting Monday night to continue the long home stand. But before we look ahead, here’s an in-depth look at all three against Detroit beginning with Friday night’s second half-opening game at T-Mobile Park.

Like mentioned above, it was 2023 All-Star pitcher Luis Castillo toeing the rubber against lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.

Fireworks immediately on fireworks night, but unfortunately it was for the away team. 25-year-old Kerry Carpenter, who had a wonderful series, punished a full-count, two-out Castillo changeup beyond the fence in right center field. It was a two-run shot, giving the Tigers an early advantage.

In the bottom of the first, Julio Rodriguez’s 102-MPH rocket was robbed by CF Matt Vierling, who made a magnificent snag with the ball slicing away from him as well as dealing with a sun/shade obstacle. It was the second time in a few weeks where Rodriguez had a home run taken away from him.

Detroit Tigers v Seattle Mariners

Matt Vierling's home run-saving catch helped maintain Detroit's early lead on Friday night. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

That 2-0 Detroit lead stayed the same until the fifth where Akil Baddoo, with only three home runs on the season, sent a down-and-in changeup 402 feet beyond Teoscar Hernandez and the wall in right field to add to the Tigers’ lead.

In the bottom half, Seattle finally got the offense rolling. With the bases loaded, utilityman Dylan Moore missed a grand slam by a foot, but did score two on his first double on the season. But that was all Seattle got, despite there being only one down in the inning. Struggling Ty France was caught looking to end the frame, and then was promptly ejected after a dispute with home plate umpire Marvin Hudson, (who had some questionable calls throughout Friday’s game).

Castillo’s day was done after five, where he gave up three runs on the two homers and struck out five.

After the M’s narrowed the deficit to one run, Detroit got some insurance runs in the seventh. It was their third home run of the game, as Nick Maton, with a runner aboard, took rookie reliever Ty Adcock deep. Seattle was able to score one in the eighth (Jarred Kelenic RBI double) and one in the ninth (Mike Ford home run), but with the tying run on second and winning run on first, the lights were too bight for Julio. He struck out looking on a curveball right down the heart of the plate to end the first game of the second half on the wrong side of things: a 5-4 defeat.

It was a battle of American League All-Stars on Saturday night. Righties George Kirby against Michael Lorenzen faced off in the middle game.

Kerry Carpenter, or should I say Kerry “Bonds” again homered to get it going for the Tigers. His second inning, solo home run was his second in as many games, (…and he wasn’t done yet Saturday).

Detroit Tigers v Seattle Mariners

Kerry Carpenter got to rock the hockey helmet and stick three times throughout the series. This was him and his teammates celebrating his solo home run in the second inning Saturday night.(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)Photo: Alika Jenner / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Riley Greene singled home another Detroit run in the third, and 2020 first overall pick Spencer Torkelson singled home Eric Haase in the fifth to lengthen the lead for the Tigers.

Lorenzen sliced and diced the Mariners Saturday night. He carried a no-no through five plus innings until Jarred Kelenic broke it up with a base hit. Lorenzen allowed only one more hit throughout the rest of his start and held Seattle scoreless despite walking five.

Carpenter, with two on in the fifth, took Kirby deep for the second time of the game and at that point it was virtually over for Seattle. Kirby gave up all six runs on Saturday through five innings.

Seattle mustered off only one more hit in the game as they were shutout and lost their second straight game by a score of 6-0.

Now again back below .500, it was rookie Bryce Miller looking to get the Mariners back on track Sunday. He faced off against another rookie in righty Reese Olsen making just the sixth start of his young career.

For the first time of the series, Seattle opened the scoring first early. On his 24th birthday, Jarred Kelenic doubled off the wall in left field that scored J.P. Crawford in the first. Cal Raleigh mashed a 432-foot solo home run in the bottom of the fourth to lengthen the lead to 2-0 in favor of the home team.

Despite allowing traffic via hits throughout his start, Miller was able to keep the Tigers tamed in the finale. Over five shutout innings, he struck out three, giving Seattle a fighting chance to win the ballgame.

Detroit Tigers v Seattle Mariners

Rookie Bryce Miller, in his first start since June 30th, struck out three without allowing a run Sunday afternoon. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)Photo: Alika Jenner / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Seattle’s bullpen was borderline-perfect, but certainly magnificent after Miller’s departure. Matt Brash, Justin Topa, Andres Munoz and Paul Sewald struck out seven collectively to help the M’s win Sunday by a final score of 2-0.

After the series loss, Seattle is back to an even 46-46 on the season as they will play host to the Minnesota Twins (48-46) beginning Monday night. The Twins, who strike out more than any other team in the majors (Seattle is a close second) come in with a team batting average of .233 but have a great rotation and bullpen. They are coming off of sweep the Oakland Athletics in the coliseum and hold a two-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians for first in the American League Central.

It will certainly be a strike out fest on both sides over the next four games at T-Mobile Park. Here’s a look at the pitching probables:

  • Monday 7/17, 6:40 PM: RHP Logan Gilbert (7-5, 3.66 ERA) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (4-3, 2.89 ERA)
  • Tuesday 7/18, 6:40 PM: RHP Bryan Woo (1-1, 3.63 ERA0 vs. RHP Bailey Ober (5-4, 2.61 ERA)
  • Wednesday 7/19, 6:40 PM: RHP Luis Castillo (6-7, 2.96 ERA) vs. RHP Kenta Maeda (2-5, 5.50 ERA)
  • Thursday 7/20, 12:40 PM: RHP George Kirby (8-8, 3.43 ERA) vs. RHP Pablo Lopez (5-5, 4.24 ERA)

American League West Standings as of Sunday evening:

  • 1.Texas Rangers (55-39)
  • 2.Houston Astros (51-42), 3.5 GB
  • 3.Seattle Mariners (46-46), 8.0 GB
  • 4.Los Angeles Angels (46-47), 8.5 GB
  • 5.Oakland Athletics (25-70), losses in seven straight.

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