Mariners end losing streak with solid 4-1 win versus Padres

The Seattle Mariners get back to .500 on the season, in large part thanks to a dominant bounce-back performance from Logan Gilbert.

Coming off a three-game sweep by the AL West-leading Rangers, the Mariners were searching for answers. They had fallen back below .500 and the prospect of a wild card spot seemed hopeful, given how inconsistent Seattle has been all season.

A day off gave the Mariners a chance to take stock of their situation, as they prepared for the latest edition of the Vedder Cup in San Diego. The Padres have similarly underachieved so far this season despite having a talented roster.

The Mariners went on to take the first contest of the two-game series on Tuesday evening, in one of their more complete performances this season. A significant part of the reason for the 4-1 victory, was an excellent outing from Logan Gilbert.

Gilbert rebounds with excellent effort

Gilbert was coming off the worst outing of his season versus the Yankees, and one of the worst of his three-year Major League career in general. However, he bounced back in fine fashion against the Padres.

In his second-longest start of 2023, the 26-year-old allowed just three hits and one run in 7.0 innings. He did also give up two walks, but countered this by generating 14 swinging strikes on the way to six strikeouts.

As a result of the outing, Gilbert’s ERA dropped back below 4.00, to 3.80. He is also on course for a number of single-season career-bests, including a 0.958 WHIP which ranks fourth-best in the Majors as of June 6.

The righty’s best pitch on the night was arguably his slider, which accounted for seven swinging strikes and all but one of his six strikeouts. In total, he got through his seven innings in 97 pitches.

There was some discussion about whether Gilbert should pitch the seventh inning, just with how tight the game was combined with his previous outing. In the end though, Mariners manager Scott Servais showed his confidence in him.

A strong finish

Gilbert repaid that confidence by completing the inning with two consecutive strikeouts. Speaking after the game, he said:

“I figured that was probably going to be it there at the end, so I was just trying to get through three more outs. They’ve got good names all throughout the order, so you can’t let your guard down.”

As fierce a competitor as Gilbert is, he was understated in how he thought he performed on the night overall. He said:

“(I was) just trying to execute and make those big pitches when I needed to. I felt like tonight I did a pretty good job of that.”

Servais was delighted with his young pitcher’s outing. He said:

“Awesome outing. He was on top of them all night long. It starts with the fastball. When you are commanding it early in the game, you get respect from the other team with your fastball and that is what he did tonight.”

Hernandez leads the way on offense

As is (too) often the case when a Mariners pitcher excels, the offense is subpar. This was highlighted on Tuesday night, with just a slim 2-1 lead when Gilbert left the game after seven innings.

Ty France had an RBI single in the top of the third for an early 1-0 lead. However, the Padres answered in the bottom of the inning, to make it a 1-1 ballgame.

The visitors managed to regain their lead in the top of the sixth courtesy of the much-maligned Teoscar Hernandez, who entered the night with the fifth-highest strikeout rate in the Majors. He recovered from a 0-2 hole with two outs, to hit a solo home run for a 2-1 advantage.

Hernandez spoke about the blast afterwards with the media. He said:

“I was looking for one of those pitches that (Joe Musgrove) has — the change-up — and he (gave) one in the strike zone and I just put a good swing on it.”

More generally speaking, the 2021 All-Star discussed the challenges he has faced this year. He said:

“I think I’m leading the league in strikeouts, but I don’t like to think about it. I know my swing. I’ve got a lot of strikeouts in my game, so I’m just trying to minimize that and trying to get going.”

Hernandez wasn’t finished, as he added an insurance RBI single in the top of the eight, to make it 4-1 Seattle. He still has plenty to do to win over a frustrated fanbase, but Tuesday at least represents a step in the right direction.

Mariners bats do just enough

In between Hernandez’s two runs, a rejuvenated Julio Rodriguez hit a solo blast of his own in the top of the eighth. It was his team-leading 11th homer of the season and his offensive woes now seem well behind him.

It’s not unfair to state the offense still needs to be better, but Tuesday night will do for now. As Servais said:

“Offensively, tonight we are moving in the right direction. We love the home runs, no question about it.”

A positive return for Munoz

After Gilbert departed, the bullpen still needed to do their bit to help secure the win. And as per usual, they did just that.

First up was the welcome return of Andres Munoz in the bottom of the eighth. It was hard to tell he’d been put for two months through injury, as he pitched a clean inning which included two strikeouts.

Gilbert was pleased for his teammate and excited by what he saw. He said:

“(Muñoz is) nasty, throwing 100 (mph) right away with that slider. You can’t really do anything about it, so it’s nice when he comes in after me.”

The reigns were then turned over to Paul Sewald, who caused some angst by allowing a hit and walk. However, after the Padres had brought the potential tying run to the plate, he recovered to secure his 12th save in 13 opportunities this year.

Servais summed up the victory, which he hopes can lead to more consistency moving forward. He said:

“Really good effort by all our guys. Hopefully it’s a win we can build on here, heading through the rest of this road trip. That’s how we play our best baseball.”

With the win, the Mariners are now 30-30 and sitting 5.0 games back of a wild card spot following Tuesday’s action. They will look to complete the sweep of the Padres on Wednesday afternoon, as they send George Kirby to the mound.

What impressed you most about Tuesday’s night’s win in San Diego? How confident are you that the Mariners will sweep the two-game series on Wednesday afternoon? Let us know in the comments section below.

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