PHOENIX — Nobody seems to completely be sure if the Seattle Mariners will be buyers or sellers at the rapidly approaching trade deadline, not even in their own clubhouse.
Cal Raleigh hopes the team’s latest three-game winning streak has made a good impression on the front office.
Raleigh and Tom Murphy hit back-to-back, two-run doubles in a four-run first, Logan Gilbert threw 6 1/3 strong innings and the Mariners beat the skidding Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 on Friday night.
“We know we want to be buyers at the deadline,” Raleigh said. “We want to compete. We want to keep going in this thing. It’s still far from over and we’ve played a lot of good baseball lately and we’ve just got to keep it going.”
The Mariners have won three straight and are 8-6 since the All-Star break. It’s been a consistently mediocre season for Seattle to this point, with the team never more than three games above .500 or four games below that mark. Right now, they’re sitting at 53-50.
“Good way to start the series,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We jumped out early in the first inning on Henry right out of the chute, which is great to see.”
The Diamondbacks are another team that’s navigating the fine line between buyer and seller as the Tuesday trade deadline approaches, though their trending the opposite direction of the Mariners. Arizona has a 6-15 record in July, falling to 55-49 overall.
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo acknowledged his team was struggling, but also confident they would eventually pull out of their tailspin.
“I’ll never stop believing in this team and their ability to win a baseball game,” Lovullo said. “They have proven it to me time and time again.”
Seattle jumped all over D-backs starter Tommy Henry (5-4) in the first, scoring four runs on four hits, including three doubles. Seattle loaded the bases when three of the first four batters reached, then Raleigh and Murphy followed with their doubles that each brought home a pair of runs.
That was more than enough of a cushion for Gilbert (9-5), who navigated through the D-backs’ lineup with relative ease. The lanky right-hander gave up two runs on nine hits, striking out five and walking none.
“I don’t think he was as sharp as we’ve seen in the past, but his split-finger pitch really played in the game tonight,” Servais said. “It was awesome — getting that deep in the ballgame without what I would say is his ‘A’ game tonight.”
Paul Sewald worked the ninth for his 21st save, which broke his career high of 20 set last season.
Eugenio Suárez had an RBI single in the seventh to push Seattle’s advantage to 5-0. Second-year star Julio Rodríguez had two hits, including a double, and added a stolen base.
Henry settled down for the D-backs after his tough start, giving up four runs on six hits over six innings, while walking one and striking out six. Ketel Marte had three hits.
“We got sucker punched in the first inning,” Lovullo said. “We gave up four quick runs. They were ready to play and made a statement.”
TWO-RUN WILD PITCH
The D-backs cut the Mariners’ lead to 5-2 in the seventh when two runs scored on a wild pitch by Matt Brash.
The play started when Brash threw a breaking ball in the dirt that trickled away from Raleigh despite his attempt to block it.
Arizona’s Jose Herrera sprinted for home as Raleigh chased down the ball. The catcher then made an errant throw to Brash, who was covering home, and it allowed Geraldo Perdomo to score all the way from second.
The series continues Saturday night. The D-backs will send RHP Brandon Pfaadt (0-4, 8.81 ERA) to the mound, while the Mariners will counter with RHP Bryan Woo (1-3, 4.91 ERA).
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