'Back on a roll': Castillo quiets Bucs with 10-K scoreless gem

May 28th, 2023

SEATTLE -- seemed to take Friday night’s home-run barrage personally. One day after Pittsburgh scorched Seattle pitchers for 11 runs -- including seven dingers -- the hard-throwing right-hander extinguished the Pirates’ bats while leading the Mariners to a 5-0 win Saturday at T-Mobile Park.

Castillo racked up 10 strikeouts against just one hit and two walks over six scoreless innings to lead Seattle to its sixth win over the last eight games.

“Luis Castillo getting back on a roll,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It was awesome today.”

The Mariners' bullpen of , , and finished what Castillo started, as the group allowed only one hit and one walk the rest of the way. Topa worked around a leadoff walk with three consecutive strikeouts in the ninth inning.

“I saw they came out aggressive,” Castillo said of Pittsburgh’s approach at the plate. “So in my mind, I said, ‘Okay, I’ve just got to throw a variety of different pitches.’ And that's what I did throughout the whole game. I threw a variety of pitches and it seemed to work. I'm sure that threw off the plan of them coming out aggressive.”

The 10 K’s tied Castillo’s highest mark as a Mariner, matching his total from Aug. 27, 2022, against Cleveland. The 30-year-old hurler now has five scoreless outings of at least five innings pitched, which is tied with Drew Rasmussen of the Rays and Kevin Gausman of the Blue Jays for the most in the Majors so far this season.

“We’ve seen him a lot and the changeup is elite,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of Castillo. “He had it today. We’ve seen him in our division when he pitched for the Reds, and seen him pitch good, but I think today’s the best changeup that he had.

“We just couldn’t get anything going because he was really good.”

Pittsburgh shortstop Tucupita Marcano led off the game with a double to left field, but Castillo wouldn’t allow another hit during his time on the mound. In all, Seattle’s pitchers allowed a mere two hits on Saturday -- a vast improvement from the 15 surrendered on Friday.

“Pittsburgh obviously swung the bat really good last night,” Servais said. “The seven home runs, and then they came out today, the first hit of the game -- it's a double. Then [Castillo] just turned up the intensity right in the first inning. Not many guys can turn the dial up like he can. He's a special talent and a super competitor.”

Seattle now sits at 27-25 on the season, and is 9-11 in Interleague play.

The Mariners started off with three runs in the opening frame before adding one in the second and another in the seventh. Each of their five runs were the result of five separate scoring plays. However, none were more dramatic than the fifth and final run.

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Seattle star outfielder waited at third base as hit a sacrifice fly into center field. The instant the catch was made, Rodríguez took off toward home. The ball and runner reached the plate, Rodríguez collided with Pirates catcher Jason Delay and the umpire called the runner out.

Servais decided to challenge the call. Upon review, Rodríguez’s foot slid between the legs of the catcher and hit the plate before contact with the ball was made. The Mariners went up 5-0, and the bullpen closed things out.

“I was just thinking to score,” Rodríguez said of the play at the plate. “It was definitely a really good throw. It was a bang-bang play. I definitely thought I got my foot in there and he was right in the middle of the base, so there wasn’t anywhere else to go.

“I wasn’t afraid of hitting him. So if he’s going to stay there, I’m 225 [pounds], so he’s going to feel the hit, too.”

Rodríguez finished 2-for-4 to bring his current hit streak to six consecutive games. He also had an RBI and a stolen base. Suárez knocked in two runs while and had one RBI apiece.