SEATTLE (AP) — At the rate he’s going, Logan Gilbert is going to find himself pitching in Los Angeles at the All-Star Game a month from now.
Seattle’s young right-hander tossed six smooth innings and combined with three relievers on a four-hitter in the Mariners’ 5-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
Eugenio Suárez and Ty France each clubbed a two-run homer to help the Mariners emerge from their offensive slump. But all anyone wanted to talk about afterward was another sterling performance from Gilbert.
“He’s putting together, it looks to me, like maybe an All-Star type season,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “I think he’s certainly distinguishing himself as one of the better starters in this league.”
Gilbert lowered his ERA to 2.22, striking out six and walking one. Gilberto Celestino, batting in the No. 9 spot, and Carlos Correa both had two singles off Gilbert, but the rest of the Twins’ lineup found no success.
The one time Minnesota threatened came in the sixth with runners at first and second and two outs, but Gilbert struck out Max Kepler on a 3-2 pitch. It was the fourth time this year Gilbert has won following a Seattle loss.
“I’m trying to always set the tone when it’s my day, and get ahead and keep zeros on the board and give us a chance to win,” Gilbert said. “So win or lose, that’s my job. And that’s what I’ve tried to go out and do.”
Gilbert (7-2) has allowed three runs or less in 12 of his 13 starts this season. He’s pitched at least six innings in six straight outings, and only Seattle wanting to hold his pitch count down a little against the Twins kept Gilbert from going into the seventh.
“I don’t know if it’s one particular thing with him as much as just a lot of positive things combined,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He made good pitches when he had to.”
Erik Swanson, Diego Castillo and Matt Festa each worked an inning of relief to finish the shutout.
Suárez hit his team-leading 12th long ball of the season in the fourth and France launched his 10th homer an inning later to chase Minnesota starter Joe Ryan. Sam Haggerty added an RBI double in the seventh.
Seattle had scored three runs or fewer in four of the previous six games. The Mariners are 25-10 when scoring four or more this season, even if Gilbert didn’t need that much support.
“When he gets out there it’s business, and playing behind a guy like that, it’s a lot of fun,” France said. “The game just flows. Thankfully we’re able to get some run support tonight.”
Ryan (5-3) made his first start since being placed on the COVID-19 injured list May 25. He retired 11 of his first 12 batters before Julio Rodríguez’s double with one out in the fourth, and Suárez followed with a towering home run down left field line. An inning later with Ryan laboring, France connected on a hanging breaking ball on the first pitch.
Ryan gave up five hits and struck out three in 4 2/3 innings.
Twins: Baldelli said INF Jorge Polanco is not seeing the improvement in his injured back the team was hoping for and would be getting some imagining done to see if there is something more going on. Polanco has sat the past two games.
Mariners: SS J.P. Crawford was scratched about an hour before first pitch after experiencing flu-like symptoms, Servais said. Crawford was set to bat in the leadoff spot. Dylan Moore replaced him at shortstop. Servais sounded pessimistic Crawford would be able to play Wednesday. … OF Jesse Winker was given the night off. Servais had planned to give each of his outfielders a day off during this homestand, but Winker has been a major disappointment at the plate. He is batting just .208 and has six hits in his last 39 at-bats.
To make room for Ryan, the Twins designated for assignment INF Elliot Soto a day after his contract was selected from Triple-A St. Paul. Soto did not appear in his one game with the Twins. Baldelli was hopeful Soto would remain with the organization if he clears waivers.
Twins: RHP Sonny Gray (3-1, 2.41 ERA) is expected to be reinstated from the 15-day IL after missing time with a right pectoral strain. Gray has not started for the Twins since May 29 when he threw six innings against Kansas City.
Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales (3-6, 3.63) makes his 13th start of the season. Gonzales lasted 4 1/3 innings in his last start against Boston, allowing two runs and two hits with a career-high six walks.
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