It’s possible Luis Castillo is a warlock. There’s no other explanation than a soul sold to some devilish entity or eldritch horror when confronted with pitches making hypergeometric expeditions off their expected path. For a Padres lineup well-outfitted with established stars and capable role players, Castillo’s stuff was nevertheless overpowering. Even Juan Soto was left in shambles by La Piedra, which traditionally translates as “The Rock” but in this case may be closer to “”The One Who Rocks.”
His six innings were not without stress, multiple runners reaching scoring position due in part to some key questionable balls, but four hits and a walk over six shutout frames to nine punch outs is an appropriate show of dominance, bending reality to his will one clench of a raised fist at a time.
Pursuit of power has led many lesser folk astray, but fortunately for Castillo, he had three compatriots able to offer compelling demonstrations of their own. First was the youth, Seattle’s Simba slugging the memory of last night’s shutout into the stands on the first pitch he saw. Two hitters later, Eugenio Suárez continued Geno Appreciation Week in the city of Seattle, gifting a Mike Clevinger offering the key to the first row of seats in deep right center field. Not only did that two-run jack give Seattle a 3-0 lead they’d never relinquish, it gave a fan the chance for one of the best home run catches I’ve seen in some time.
For Julio, the rest of the game was a celebration. A lashed single later, as well as a stolen base following a hit by pitch which pushed him to the 25-25 club, a mark only reached by rookies named Mike Trout and Chris Young, and even they not until their second calendar seasons in MLB .
For the Mariners, it was enough to be up three, but even more compelling that they chose not to settle. Carlos Santana drove in Rodríguez and Ty France with a three-run blast to well and truly obliterate Clevinger’s Pacific Northwest vacation. The bullpen did the rest, resting Paul Seward luxuriously gave their comfortable lead and not tempting fate as they did Sunday. A 6-1 victory over their counterpart in the NL Wild Card race, up early and rarely in doubt. This game marks the final time the Seattle Mariners face a team with a winning record until the postseason. If they look like they have tonight, let’s hope they get that chance.