The Yankees’ winning ways hit a skid on Thursday, falling behind big to the Tigers and ending their five-game streak. As unfortunate as that was, they didn’t stand to lose much with almost everyone else of relevance in the American League taking the day off. There was only one out of town score to keep an eye on, with the Mariners and Rays going at it in the Trop.
Seattle Mariners (79-61) 1, Tampa Bay Rays (85-56) 0
Based on the beginning of this game, you might not have believed that this would end up being such a pitchers’ duel. Both sides got two baserunners aboard in the first inning and second innings, with the Rays even getting an extra-base hit, but Luis Castillo evaded damage. Zack Littell wasn’t as fortunate, however, and after Eugenio Suárez led off the second with a double, Mike Ford singled him home to give the Mariners an early 1-0 lead.
Castillo handed out a pair of walks in the third inning, tallying four walks already up to that point, but from there he dialed in. Castillo finished the game tossing six innings and allowed just two more base hits to close out his day, punching out a pair of Rays to cap off an eight-strikeout outing. Despite the early lack of command, this was a major bounceback for Castillo compared to his last start, a five-inning, five-run clunker against the Mets.
Littell actually managed to outlast Castillo in this duel, going eight strong, but that one run would be the difference. The Mariners bullpen brought in the trio of Isaiah Campbell, Matt Brash, and Andrés Muñoz, who combined to strike out six and allow just a single walk over their three innings of work. That walk did come in the ninth, and Taylor Walls stole second base to put the tying run into scoring position, but Muñoz closed the door from there.
The win moved Seattle to half a game back of Houston in the highly competitive AL West.