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Castillo, Mariners hand Braves 1st consecutive losses of season

Alika Jenner / Getty Images Sport / Getty

SEATTLE (AP) - Luis Castillo threw seven shutout innings to continue Seattle’s run of starting pitching dominance and the Mariners’ bullpen held on for a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.

Castillo (3-4) retired the final 11 hitters he faced and allowed just three hits against an Atlanta squad with the second-best offense in MLB. He left to a standing ovation after throwing 103 pitches and striking out seven.

After starting the season 0-4, Castillo has won three straight decisions and allowed a total of two earned runs in that span.

“He’s a killer,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I mean, you have to take that attitude when you’re out there. When you get them 0-2, 1-2, I’m killing you, you’re done. And we just reminded him of that. That’s who he is, and when he does that and he has that mentality out there, he’s electric.”

With Castillo’s stellar outing, Mariners starting pitchers have allowed two earned runs or fewer in a franchise-record 18 consecutive games.

“It is like historic starting pitching,” Servais said. “We’re on that kind of run. You have guys doing it different, a little bit differently every night.”

The AL West-leading Mariners are also the first team in MLB history to post an ERA of 1.60 or lower and 160-plus strikeouts in an 18-game span.

“It makes me a little proud because, you know, I’m a little older than them,” the 31-year old Castillo said of his younger rotation mates. “And those guys go out there and the work that they’re doing, it doesn’t really show their age.”

The Braves lost consecutive games for the first time this season, the last team in the majors to do so.

Atlanta threatened in the fourth inning when Matt Olson drew a one-out walk and Marcell Ozuna followed with a single, but Castillo struck out Orlando Arcia and got Michael Harris II to ground out to end the inning.

The Mariners struck first on Jorge Polanco’s two-run homer in the third. Dylan Moore added another for Seattle with a fourth-inning RBI double against Braves starter Reynaldo López.

López (2-1) allowed six hits and three earned runs over five innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Ozzie Albies drove in a run with an RBI single off Mariners reliever Ryne Stanek in the eighth. Stanek allowed three singles before he was replaced by Andrés Muñoz with two on. Muñoz threw the ball away on an infield single by Austin Riley to score Jarred Kelenic.

After intentionally walking Olson to load the bases, Muñoz retired Ozuna and Arcia to end the inning.

Muñoz then pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save.

“It’s rough, really good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We’re facing a lot of really good slider guys here all of a sudden.”

Seattle has won 11 of its last 14, tied with Philadelphia for best record in MLB since April 15, and has won five straight series.


Mariners RHP Emerson Hancock (3-2, 5.06 ERA) will try for his third consecutive win Wednesday against Braves LHP Chris Sale (3-1, 3.69 ERA).