SEATTLE (AP) Julio Rodríguez hit a three-run homer and the Seattle Mariners won their eighth straight game Friday night as Luis Castillo and three relievers combined on a four-hitter in a 9-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Cal Raleigh launched an early two-run shot and Ty France also went deep for the Mariners, who hammered the top team in the American League and pulled within a half-game of Toronto for the final AL wild card.
Rodríguez’s homer capped a five-run fourth against Orioles starter Kyle Gibson (11-7), who gave up nine runs in 5 1/3 innings. The drive just cleared the wall in right field and put Seattle up by six.
Castillo (8-7) allowed two hits and one run over six innings with eight strikeouts. His lone blemish came in the fourth, when Anthony Santander homered to center field.
“That's a playoff pitcher,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “That's what it looks like in the postseason. It's high 90s, it's unbelievably aggressive. He pitches in, he pitches up, he's got a really good changeup and he threw the ball extremely well."
Castillo bounced back from his previous start against the Los Angeles Angels, when he allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs over six innings on Aug. 4.
“I'm a person that likes to just have a lot of confidence in what I do,” Castillo said. “I think today a lot of the confidence (was) behind those pitches that I was able to throw. You know, even when I was behind, I just had the same confidence and I was able to get the results that we had.”
Raleigh gave the Mariners a 2-0 lead in the first. After Santander put the Orioles on the board, Seattle broke open the game in the fourth.
José Caballero made it 3-1 with a sacrifice fly, Josh Rojas had an RBI single and Rodríguez clubbed his 19th homer.
France added a solo shot in the fifth, and Rodríguez drove in Rojas in the sixth with an RBI double.
“Certainly we're different when Julio is rolling, that's obvious," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "But the number of guys contributing right now on a nightly basis, makes our lineup a little bit more daunting for the other club when they look at it.”
Taylor Saucedo and Ryder Ryan each pitched one scoreless inning, and Trent Thornton allowed a run in the ninth. Ryan's outing marked his major league debut.
Mariners pitchers struck out 13 hitters.
NO FLY ZONE
Rodríguez nearly led off the first inning with a double, but Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins ran down the ball and celebrated by crossing his arms, imitating Rodríguez's signature “No Fly Zone” celebration. Rodríguez pointed to Mullins and smiled in response.
“He's a really, really good center fielder,” Rodríguez said. “I love Cedric Mullins, the way that he plays and everything. I knew I hit the ball hard, but at the same time, I've got to respect his defense, and he threw the No Fly Zone there. It was fun.”
Orioles: Baltimore activated Mullins from the 10-day injured list and optioned OF Ryan McKenna to Triple-A Norfolk. Mullins had been out since July 15 with a right groin strain. The team also optioned RHP Joey Krehbiel to Norfolk and recalled LHP Nick Vespi.
Mariners: Placed SS J.P. Crawford on the seven-day concussion IL and recalled INF Sam Haggerty from Triple-A Tacoma. The move was retroactive to Thursday.
Orioles: LHP Cole Irvin (1-3, 5.44 ERA) makes his first start Saturday since July 7.
Mariners: RHP George Kirby (10-8, 3.32) went seven innings against the Angels last time out, allowing three hits and one earned run.
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