SEATTLE (AP) — Luis Castillo pitched seven shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners grabbed sole possession of first place in the AL West, beating the Kansas City Royals 3-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
Teoscar Hernández and Julio Rodríguez homered as Seattle won for the 11th time in 12 games. The Mariners also improved to a major league-best 36-14 since July 1 for its best 50-game stretch since it also went 36-14 from April 23-June 18, 2003.
Seattle (74-56) and Texas were tied for the AL West lead coming into the day, but the Rangers lost 7-6 to the Twins. Seattle trailed Texas by 7 1/2 games on Aug. 15.
It's the latest the Mariners have had sole possession of first in a season since Aug. 24, 2003.
Castillo (11-7) allowed one hit, struck out six and walked one in his fourth consecutive win. The All-Star right-hander retired his last 13 batters.
Hernández put Seattle in front with his third homer in the past two games, hitting a 433-foot solo shot to center off rookie Alec Marsh (0-7) in the second inning. It was his 22nd homer of the season.
Rodríguez also went deep for the second straight day, lining a two-run shot to left-center in the fifth to make it 3-0. It was his 23rd of the season.
Kansas City’s Nelson Velázquez hit a two-run homer off Gabe Speier in the eighth. It was Velázquez's eighth homer.
The Royals put runners on second and third with two outs in the inning, but Justin Topa struck out Salvador Perez to preserve the one-run lead. Andrés Muñoz struck out the side in the ninth for his 10th save.
Marsh allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out nine in his seventh career start.
Seattle right fielder Dominic Canzone made a full-extension diving catch on a slicing line drive by Maikel Garcia in the sixth.
Ty France was hit by a pitch for a franchise-record 28th time this season when Marsh plunked him with a slider in the second. France also held the previous mark, with 27 hit by pitches in 2021.
Royals: RHP Zack Greinke (1-12, 5.34 ERA) faces Pittsburgh RHP Johan Oviedo (7-13, 4.46 ERA) on Monday to open a three-game series at home.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb
Cameron Van Til, The Associated Press