ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Luis Castillo went six innings to win his sixth consecutive decision, Mike Ford drove in a run and the Seattle Mariners beat the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on Thursday night in a matchup of playoff contenders.
Castillo (12-7) allowed four hits. four walks and struck out eight. The right-hander worked out of two-on, one-out jams in each of the first three innings. He threw 108 pitches, one off his season high.
Isaiah Campbell and Matt Brash both went an inning before Andrés Muñoz worked the ninth to get his 12th save and complete a four-hitter.
Muñoz hit Luke Raley with a pitch leading off the ninth, but the Tampa Bay center fielder was thrown out trying to steal second by catcher Cal Raleigh.
Taylor Walls then drew a walk and stole second as Jonathan Aranda struck out. Pinch-hitter Harold Ramírez struck out to end the game,
Rays starter Zack Littell (3-5) went a career-high eight innings, giving up one run and five hits during an 86-pitch outing. It was his eighth start after was being inserted into the Rays’ injury-depleted rotation on June 30. The righty’s previous best was six innings.
Seattle moved within a half-game of idle Houston for the AL West lead, and is 5 1/2 games back of the Rays for the top AL wild card. The Mariners, currently holding the second wild card, are 41-19 over their last 60 games.
Eugenio Suárez doubled leading off the second and scored Ford’s single as the Mariners took a 1-0 lead.
Littell retired 19 of his 21 batters following Ford’s hit.
The announced crowd was 10,060. Tampa Bay started the day averaging 17,828, which is fourth-lowest in the majors.
Mariners RF Teoscar Hernández extended his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games with a first-inning single.
Suárez ran all the way from his third-base position into foul territory on the first-base side to grab Raley’s third-inning foul after Raleigh lost sight of it. … Mariners LF Dominic Canzone went halfway over a short wall in the left-field corner after tracking down Paredes’ foul ball.
Seattle 2B Josh Rojas was doubled off first base by Paredes on a high pop foul near third base to end the second. … Ford struck out in the seventh after being given a strike on a 3-2 count for calling a second time during the same at-bat.
Walls (groin) started after missing three games. He played a pair of games last weekend after missing six weeks with an oblique injury. He struck out in all these at-bats against Castillo.
Mariners RHP George Kirby (10-9) and Rays RHP Taj Bradley (5-7) were set to start Friday night.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB