Logan Gilbert has the first complete game of his Major League career, to help the Mariners to a season-high fourth consecutive win.
July 4 was already a good day for the Mariners, with George Kirby and Julio Rodriguez joining Luis Castillo on the AL All-Star roster. Logan Gilbert made it even better.
Gilbert’s previous start had been an unmitigated disaster, in a 4-1 loss to the lowly Nationals. Tuesday afternoon couldn’t have been more different for him.
No stopping Gilbert
The lean righty was outstanding versus the Giants, throwing 105 pitches in the first complete game of his Major League career. It also doubled as his first career shutout – the 10th such game in the Majors this season.
The Giants only managed to tally five hits versus Gilbert, who allowed no walks. He caused 22 swings and misses, on the way to racking up seven strikeouts.
Some had wondered if Mariners manager Scott Servais would give the 26-year-old the opportunity to complete the game. The young pitcher essentially all but made the call, with Servais saying postgame:
“He wouldn’t even look at me (after completing the eighth inning). He stuck his fist out and kept on walking.”
Gilbert confessed he was doing his best to influence the decision to keep him in the game. He said:
“I was walking as quick as I could into the tunnel. I tried to get away from everybody so they couldn’t say anything, but I thought he was going to let me keep going either way.”
Plenty of cause for celebration
Gilbert will be the first to admit this season has been up-and-down for him from a performance standpoint. However, he lowered his ERA back below 4.00 for the first time in a month and is on course for the lowest WHIP of his three-year Major League career.
The 2018 14th overall draft pick’s shutout was Seattle’s first since Yusei Kikuchi, on Aug. 18, 2019. He was also the Mariners’ youngest pitcher to do it since Taijuan Walker, on Sept. 13, 2016.
Gilbert got in a zone early with a three-pitch inning in the second, the third in Mariners history. He said:
“The big thing today that we talked about was first-pitch strikes, trying to get that. So that inning was pretty good to get me rolling.”
At the conclusion of the game Gilbert awkwardly joined in the team’s dance around the mound, while also getting to hold the home run trident. He said:
“Everybody in there, they really care about each other. I think that’s what really matters for this team when we play well especially, so it was pretty cool that they would do that for me.”
Mariners lineup shows patience and consistency
Helping Gilbert earn the win, the Mariners lineup was methodical in racking up 13 hits for six runs. Leading the way was Mike Ford, with four hits in five at-bats, and on his 31st birthday.
Ford came up a triple short of the cycle, as he contributed his seventh home run of the year. He added two doubles and a single, while scoring a couple of runs of his own.
The hits were fairly evened out, among seven of the nine batters in the lineup. Rodriguez, J.P. Crawford and the much-maligned A.J. Pollock all had two each.
Jarred Kelenic had his struggles on a day he played DH, with no official hits in five at-bats. However, he still notched Seattle’s first RBI of the day, reaching base on a fielder’s choice in the top of the first.
Ford scored on a wild pitch in the second, before adding his home run an inning later to make it 3-0 to the visitors. Rodriguez made the scoreline more comfortable in the sixth with an RBI single, before Pollock finished San Francisco off with a two-run homer in the eighth.
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Once more back to .500
With the 6-0 victory, the Mariners equaled their season-high of four wins. Undoubtedly though, doing this versus the Rays and Giants is considerably more impressive than managing it against the Athletics.
The win also saw the Mariners once more return to .500, this time at 42-42. There is still plenty of work to do however, with them sitting 5.0 games back of the final wild card spot in the AL.
Regardless, Servais is happy with the progress being made by his players. He said:
“Our team is coming together. We’re doing the little things. We’re playing good defense. The pitching has been pretty consistent all year, but certainly, what excites everybody is our offense. It has been way better here in the last few games.”
Gilbert has certainly noticed how things have improved recently from a consistency standpoint. He said:
“I remember from last year at the end of the year, when everything’s clicking … It’s just like everybody’s having fun. It’s really cliché to say, but that’s kind of how we feel right now.”
No matter how good the vibe is right now, a critical four-game series is looming versus the Astros. How the Mariners do on the road against their divisional rivals, will tell us a lot about this ballclub.
First things first though, Seattle will aim to complete the sweep in San Francisco. Tommy Milone will take the mound on Wednesday night for just his second start of the season, in place of the injured Bryce Miller.
Ty France was a late scratch for Tuesday’s contest. It was the second consecutive game he missed, due to dealing with soreness on Sunday versus the Rays.
What’s your prediction for Wednesday’s series finale in San Francisco? Will the Mariners get their first five-game winning streak of the year, or fall back below .500. Let us know in the comments section below.