SEATTLE — Logan Gilbert tied his career high with nine strikeouts, Cal Raleigh homered and the Seattle Mariners beat the Chicago White Sox 3-0 on Tuesday night to keep the AL wild-card race tight.
Raleigh hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning as the Mariners won for the eighth time in nine games. Seattle and Tampa Bay are 1 1/2 games ahead of Toronto, which is 3 1/2 games on front of Baltimore for the final AL wild card. Raleigh has 23 homers, tops among catchers.
Chicago has lost two of three and dropped three games behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central, also trailing Minnesota by 1 1/2 games.
“Pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, that’s the 2022 Mariners at its finest tonight,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
Though it wasn’t his best outing as he struggled with a wayward fastball, Gilbert (12-5) allowed five hits in six innings, striking out two each in the third, fifth and sixth.
“He’s about as kindhearted and nice a kid, a young man, you’re going to find and the way he treats everybody is super, all kinds of respect,” Servais said. “But when it’s his day to pitch, he steps out of the dugout to take the mound and it is on and I love that about him.”
The second-year starter allowed runners in scoring position twice. José Abreu had a out-one double in the sixth, his third hit of the game, and took third on Eloy Jiménez’s single. But Gilbert struck out Gavin Sheets and fanned A.J. Pollock on a shoulder-high 98 mph fastball, Gilbert’s 101st and last pitch. It was his hardest throw of the game and brought a rare fist pump.
“That’s pretty cool,” Gilbert said. “I just let it go. I mean, a big moment like that, the crowd is going crazy, it’s pretty easy to get yourself amped up and just throw it as hard as you can. So it’s nice, I just I felt like I kind of hit an extra gear there.”
Pollock also struck out with two runners aboard in the eighth against Andrés Muñoz. Paul Sewald struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 18th save in 22 chances. The Mariners staff is 8-1 in its last nine games with four saves and 71 strikeouts.
“It’s great to see that emotion from him,” Servais said of the fist pump. “He knew it was a rough night. It was a battle every inning and to get through it not giving up anything was just awesome. And then our bullpen - again, it was not easy tonight.”
Seattle has allowed three runs or fewer in nine consecutive games, tying June 1-11, 2009, for the second-longest streak in team history behind 13 straight in 2014.
Johnny Cueto (7-7) allowed one run, five hits and three walks in six-plus innings.
Ty France doubled in the fourth on ball that hit the wall in the right-field corner and skipped past Sheets. France tagged up on on Mitch Haniger’s fly to right field, and Sheets’ throw was wide and bounced to the camera well for an error that let France cross the plate.
“It was unbelievable,” Chicago acting manager Miguel Cairo said of the pitching. “Gilbert pitched good and Johnny was able to keep us in the game and we just came up short today. It was a really good game. (Gilbert) just has a fast ball (that) is hard to hit.”
White Sox: Already ailing CF Luis Robert was replaced in the fifth inning after bruising his left hand during an earlier at-bat. Trainers visited with Robert during his second-inning at-bat after the ball hit the knob of the bat, causing him pain. He returned to the batter’s box and struck out. After a second strikeout in the fifth he was replaced by Adam Engel. Robert, who also strained his left wrist on Aug. 12, is day to day. … Acting manager Miguel Cairo said SS Tim Anderson (hand) is not yet ready to start swinging a bat.
White Sox: RHP Michael Kopech (4-9, 3.58) is 0-3 in his last five starts. He has been sidelined since Aug. 23 by a strained left knee.
Mariners: RHP Luis Castillo (6-5, 2.71) is 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA in six starts since he was acquired from Cincinnati. He pitched six shutout innings against Cleveland on Sept. 2.
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