CLEVELAND (AP) — Cal Raleigh didn’t even get to Seattle’s dugout following the game before manager Scott Servais wrapped him up in a big hug.
One catcher to another.
Raleigh homered twice, Luis Castillo pitched six solid innings and the Mariners pushed their winning streak to five with a 6-1 victory Friday night over the Cleveland Guardians, who at least ended their longest scoreless drought in 31 years.
The 25-year-old Raleigh hit a solo homer in the second inning off rookie Cody Morris (0-1) and connected for a three-run shot, his 21st, in the sixth as the Mariners kept pace in the crowded AL wild-card chase.
After the game, Servais, who caught for 11 seasons in the National League, embraced his young catcher and then talked about him like a proud father.
“Wow, Cal Raleigh, 21 homers,” Servais said. “Some kind of season he’s put together.”
Raleigh started slowly in his second big league season, and was batting .129 on June 1. And while he’s only hitting .205 now, he’s come up with big hits, handled Seattle’s pitching staff and become more assertive.
“Look at how the season started for him and where he’s at now,” Servais said. “I don’t think anybody could have predicted this, but it was in there, you just don’t know when it’s going to come out.
“Really, really proud of him and not just the home runs and what he’s done offensively, but the job he does behind the plate. He makes an impact every night whether he gets a hit or homer or not.
“I thought he deserved a big hug after that one.”
Seattle has won seven of eight and 12 of 16.
Castillo (6-5) didn’t allow a run on five hits in six innings. The right-hander extended Cleveland’s scoreless streak to 27 innings — the club’s longest since a 28-inning scoring dry spell in 1991 — before the Guardians pushed across a run in the seventh off reliever Diego Castillo.
Cleveland, which has dropped four of five, maintained its one-game lead in the AL Central over second-place Minnesota, which lost 4-3 at the Chicago White Sox.
Baseball’s youngest team looks tired and the Guardians took another blow before the game when starting pitchers Zach Plesac (broken hand) and Aaron Civale (forearm inflammation) were placed on the 15-day injured list.
“It’s not time to panic,” shortstop Amed Rosario said through a translator. “We’ve been in worse situations already this year. I trust in the team that we’ll be able to turn things around.”
Plesac broke his hand punching the ground last week after giving up a home run to the Mariners. His frustration cost him a start, and probably several more, and it forced the Guardians to have Morris make his major league debut against a red-hot Seattle squad.
Morris managed to get out of the first allowing one run on Mitch Haniger’s RBI double.
However, the Mariners added two in the second — one unearned — on Raleigh’s first homer and Haniger’s second double, which scored rookie Julio Rodríguez after he reached on Rosario’s fielding error.
The Mariners put it away in the sixth when Carlos Santana walked, Adam Frazier singled and Raleigh followed with his second homer.
Raleigh, who became the third catcher in Seattle history to hit 20 homers in a season, was unaware the Mariners are 17-2 when he goes deep.
“I guess I need to homer more then,” he said with a smile.
Cleveland’s All-Star second baseman Andrés Giménez was hit by a pitch for the 17th time this season.
He’s tied for second in the AL behind Yankees slugger Anthony Rizzo (18) and he’s three shy of matching the team record set by Ryan Garko in 2007.
Rajai Davis was in a familiar place. Not among familiar faces.
Davis, who hit one of the biggest home runs in Cleveland history in Game 7 the 2016 World Series, was back at Progressive Field. He currently works as an on-field director for Major League Baseball.
Manager Terry Francona was happy to see Davis, and encouraged him to meet some of Cleveland’s new players.
“I told him, ‘Go in and see the guys in the clubhouse,’” Francona said. “And he said, ‘I only know the coaches.’”
Davis had two stints with Cleveland, the second in 2018.
Guardians: Plesac is scheduled to be examined by hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham in the next few days. Francona said even in a “best case” scenario that the right-hander will be out at least one week. … Civale is on the injured list for the third time in 2022.
Mariners: LHP Robbie Ray (11-8, 3.58 ERA) had an awesome August. In five starts, Ray went 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 33 innings. He pitched scoreless innings against the Guardians last week, and has a 1.29 ERA in 14 career innings versus Cleveland.
Guardians: RHP Xzavion Curry (0-0, 5.40) takes Civale’s spot and makes his second career start. He allowed three runs and eight hits over at Detroit on Aug. 15 in the second game of a doubleheader.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports