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Friday, February 23, 2024
Feb. 23, 2024

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Ford clears bases in 9-run 4th as Mariners pound Astros

Castillo throws 7 strong innings for Seattle

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Seattle Mariners designated hitter Mike Ford celebrates after hitting a three-run double during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Friday, July 7, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M.
Seattle Mariners designated hitter Mike Ford celebrates after hitting a three-run double during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Friday, July 7, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox) Photo Gallery

HOUSTON — Luis Castillo threw seven strong innings, Mike Ford had a bases-clearing double during a nine-run fourth for Seattle, and the Mariners beat the Houston Astros 10-1 on Friday night.

Kolten Wong drove in two runs in the fourth, starting the scoring with an RBI single and concluding it with a two-out double. He was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.

The Mariners had their biggest inning since they plated nine in the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels on Sept. 2, 2016.

“The game was all about the big inning,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Big night offensively. We had 13 hits, but more importantly, eight walks. We did a really good job of controlling the strike zone tonight.”

After Wong’s single made it 1-1, Julio Rodríguez hit a two-run single to chase Houston starter Hunter Brown (6-6). Phil Maton struck out Ty France but walked Teoscar Hernández before Cal Raleigh added an RBI fielder’s choice to make it 4-1.

Eugenio Suárez was hit by a pitch, Jarred Kelenic worked a bases-loaded walk, and Ford followed with his double.

“Good job up and down the lineup,” Servais said. “I thought tonight was a good example of passing the baton, keeping the line moving. Our guys did a good job.”

Ford added a solo homer in the ninth against Houston outfielder Bligh Madris and finished with three hits and four RBIs.

Castillo (6-6) yielded one unearned run on five hits with three strikeouts, bouncing back after he allowed six runs in six innings last Sunday against Tampa Bay. He said he was able to relax after the fourth.

“I just felt a little more confident having that big lead, going out there and just doing my job,” Castillo said through a translator.

Kelenic, Ford and Wong — the 7-8-9 hitters in the Mariners’ lineup — combined to go 7 for 10 with seven RBIs. Ford tied a career high with four RBIs.

“We’ve kind of carried the mentality throughout the whole thing that the past few weeks the top of the lineup carries us one day, the bottom of the lineup might be hot the next day,” Ford said. “It’s not just one person, it’s been a collective group and that’s the special part of it.”

Seattle (44-43) has won six of seven to climb over .500 for the first time since June 2. The Mariners moved within four games of second-place Houston in the AL West.

Brown struck out eight in three innings but surrendered five runs on eight hits. He had allowed three runs or fewer in four of his last five starts.

“He really didn’t have command of his breaking stuff or his fastball really,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “His fastball was high; his breaking ball was low. … That was a tough inning. I don’t think I’ve seen a nine-run inning in a long time.”

Alex Bregman had an RBI infield single in the third for the Astros.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: DH Yordan Alvarez took batting practice on the field before the game. He could take part in José Urquidy’s live batting practice on Sunday, Baker said.

HE SAID IT

“It would be a pleasure because it’s home for us. Being able to throw the first pitch in front of all our fans, it would be something special, but God will tell if I get the ball first.” — Castillo on the possibility of starting the All-Star Game Tuesday in Seattle.

TOO LATE

Kelenic struck out in the second inning when plate umpire Brian O’Nora called him for a pitch clock violation on a 3-2 count.

ROSTER MOVE

Seattle RHP José Rodriguez cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma.

UP NEXT

Houston LHP Framber Valdez (7-6, 2.49 ERA) will start Saturday for the first time since June 27 at St. Louis. Valdez missed his last scheduled start with right ankle soreness. RHP Bryan Woo (1-1, 4.08) starts for Seattle.

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