M’s and Twins Split Four Games as Water Cooler Gets Best of Kelenic

The Minnesota Twins were the second of three teams to visit T-Mobile Park on the homestand. An eventful series to say the least between two clubs with similar records, yet vastly different divisional standings.  

After Sunday’s winner against the Detroit Tigers, it was up to the thin man, Logan Gilbert to help keep the M's momentum going against the first place Minnesota Twins. He faced off against 2023 All-Star Sonny Gray, who Seattle has seen quite few times when he was with Oakland. Before Monday, Sonny Gray came into the game with a 5-3 record and 2.73 ERA all-time against the Mariners.

Though the Twins were making Gilbert work with a bunch of pitches thrown throughout the first couple of innings, the game remained scoreless until the third. Back-to-back doubles by Michael A. Taylor and Carlos Correa got Minnesota on the board, and a sacrifice fly by Alex Kirilloff lengthened the lead to 2-0.

As Logan’s pitch count continued to rise, Sonny Gray’s stayed extremely low as he was efficient as one could be… until the bottom of the fifth. With the bases juiced, Jose Caballero singled home a run to get Seattle within one. Julio had himself a nice at-bat and was able to check his swing for an RBI walk to tie things up. Two pitches later and Jarred Kelenic dropped a base hit into left that scored two, putting Seattle up two.

Gilbert’s day was done after five innings. On 94 pitches, he struck out five and allowed seven hits, but just the two earned runs. Lefty Gabe Speier replaced Logan and gave up a two-out moonshot home run to power-hitter Joey Gallo. But the following half inning, Seattle again scored, this time via a wild pitch.

A scoreless seventh from Matt Brash, and it was time for the Mariners to get some insurance. After Kelenic reached on a single, Eugenio Suarez mashed his 12th homer of the season off of righty Oliver Ortega.

Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners

Jarred Kelenic give his props to Eugenio Suarez after his two-run home run Monday night inside of T-Mobile Park. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

A four-run lead meant no Paul Sewald was necessary…until he was, desperately. Rookie reliever Ty Adcock made M’s fan’s hearts stop after he gave up a three-run home run in the top of the ninth with two down. Party Paul Sewald was able to come in and get Ryan Jeffers to strike out on a questionable call, but nevertheless, Seattle took the opener by a score of 7-6.

Rookie Bryan Woo got the nod Tuesday night. His competition was righty Bailey Ober who was coming off two brilliant starts against the Baltimore Orioles.

It was instant offense again for the Twins, as Max Kepler brought home Correa on a sacrifice fly, and Willi Castro singled home another run to put Minnesota up by two in the first.

Seattle did respond however in the bottom half. Geno, on his birthday, tied it up on a two-run, 403-foot homer. The hits kept coming in the first, but base running mistakes limited run production. Teoscar Hernandez and Ty France were outs two and three at home plate. A three-run inning for Seattle could have easily been four or five.

Following the first, the wheels fell off on both sides for Seattle. Woo only lasted 3 1/3 innings, giving up eight hits, six earned runs, while walking three in the process. Paired with Woo’s struggles was a dormant offense. Minnesota put up three in the third, two in the fourth, one in the sixth and two in the ninth.

Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners

Head Coach Scott Servais' face says it all about rookie Bryan Woo's performance Tuesday night. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

It was Woo’s worst start of the season outside of his career-debut. He was tagged with the L as was his team. 10-3 in favor of the away team was the final Tuesday night.

Luis Castillo’s number was called Wednesday night looking to get the M’s back within the winning ways category. Veteran righty Kenta Maeda got the start for Minnesota as he was coming off a poor performance in the coliseum in Oakland.

For the third night in a row, the Twins scored the first run of the ball game. It was catcher Ryan Jeffers who softly singled home Matt Walner in the top of the second.

This was the strikeout game that I had mentioned in the previous recap and on the podcast. The two teams with the highest strikeout rate in all of baseball struck out a combined 28 times, 14 a side throughout Wednesday’s contest.

The Twins added on in the fifth with a pair of solo home runs. Red-hot Edouard Julien smacked his ninth of the season to right center, as did Max Kepler (his 14th) two batters later.

Finally, there was life in the Mariners’ lumber in the sixth and seventh inning. Down three runs, it was Tom Murphy who got the party started with a solo blast deep into the ‘Pen. An inning later, and Eugenio Suarez cranked a two-run blast to left. It was his third in as many days, and this one tied it up at three.

Luis Castillo struck out the most batters in a start in a Seattle uniform yesterday. 11 Ks, three earned runs across six innings of work. 35-year-old Kenta Maeda struck out nine across six plus innings allowing two earned runs.

Andres Munoz followed Justin Topa and Gabe Speier in the M’s bullpen. In the top of the eighth, with runners on second and third, Tom Murphy couldn’t handle a Munoz slider as Max Kepler scampered home and re-took the lead from Seattle. Top nine, questionably, it was 26-year-old Devin Sweet, making his MLB debut after being called up from Double-A Arkansas the same day.

Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners

Max Kepler of the Minnesota Twins meanders past Andres Munoz to take the lead back Wednesday night. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Sweet gave up an opposite field, two-run home run to lefty Alex Kirilloff, extending Minnesota’s lead back to three. M’s were given false hope in their last ups as Twins’ flamethrower Jhoan Duran gave up a single to J.P. and hit Julio with a pitch brining the tying run to the plate. Touching 104 MPH consistently on his fastball, Duran got Kelenic to K swinging, Geno to ground out and got Mike Ford to K swinging to end the contest. Final score: MIN 6, SEA 3.

Breaking news Thursday morning as outfielder Jarred Kelenic, who was one of the lone bright spots since the All-Star break, and frankly on the season, fractured his left foot after kicking a water cooler following his swinging strikeout in the ninth inning Wednesday night. He has been placed on the ten-day IL, but likely to miss much more time, (most likely all of the regular season). Outfielder Cade Marlowe, who slashed .255/.332/.793 in 282 ABs for the Tacoma Rainiers, has been brought up in place of the injured Kelenic. He will platoon with AJ Pollock in left field.

Looking past Kelenic, it was George Kirby looking for a bounce back start to help the M’s get the split on Thursday afternoon.

For the first time of the series, it was Seattle who scored first. Teoscar Hernandez singled home J.P. Crawford to give the M’s an early advantage. Unfortunately, yet predictable, one was all they got despite having the bases juiced with no outs.

It was Teo again in the bottom of the fourth, but this time he did it himself. A 403-foot solo home run into the batter’s eye in center field extended Seattle’s lead.

Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners

Teoscar Hernandez salutes his way around the bases after his solo home run Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

George Kirby found his groove back Thursday. The 2023 All-Star had nine strikeouts through five innings. He finished with ten overall through seven innings, keeping the Twins scoreless.

Big Mike Ford added necessary insurance in the bottom of the eighth with a 413-foot, two-run blast. Cal Raleigh also scored on a wild pitch.

A well put-together finale, (5-0 final) as Seattle split with the first-place Twins.

Seattle will certainly be blue this weekend, but not the typical navy that we are used to. It’s the Toronto Blue Jays making their stop in Seattle for what will be a packed T-Mobile Park all weekend long. The Jays took the series from Seattle in the 6 back in April, but as we all know, they still want their revenge from the 2022 American League Wild Card Series. In the tough AL East, Toronto sits in third place behind Tampa and Baltimore with a record of 54-43. Over the past few days, they lost two of three against the San Diego Padres

Much like T-Mobile Park, it’ll be a jam-packed city of Seattle this weekend. Music festivals, good weather, Taylor Swift and the Blue Jays in town through Sunday. Buckle up, it’s a big series for momentum to the start of the second half and to close out the homestand.

Pitching probables:

  • Friday 7/21, 7:10 PM: RHP Bryce Miller (6-3, 3.66 ERA) vs. LHP Yusei Kikuchi (7-3, 4.13 ERA)
  • Saturday 7/22, 1:10 PM: RHP Logan Gilbert (8-5, 3.65 ERA) vs. RHP Kevin Gausman (7-5, 3.03 ERA)
  • Sunday 7/23, 1:10 PM: RHP Bryan Woo (1-2, 4.74 ERA) vs. RHP Alek Menoah (2-8, 6.18 ERA)

American League West Standings as of Thursday evening:

  • 1.Texas Rangers (58-39)
  • 2.Houston Astros (53-43)
  • 3.Los Angeles Angels (49-48)
  • 4.Seattle Mariners (48-48)
  • 5.Oakland Athletics (27-71)

Get your latest Seattle Mariners' updates on the Talkin 'Ners with Rory and Ders Podcast! New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday, available on any and all podcast streaming platforms.

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