SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle starter George Kirby set a career high with 10 strikeouts and the Mariners’ offense broke out for the second straight game in a 9-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.
Kirby (6-5) was untouchable early on, retiring the first 13 hitters of the game. He wound up allowing three hits and one unearned run over six innings with no walks.
Yuli Gurriel hit a single in the top of the fifth inning for Miami’s first hit, but Kirby recovered by striking out Jean Segura and Jon Berti to escape the inning without damage.
Kirby tends to live around the strike zone with his pitches, but was able to coax Marlins hitters to chase pitches throughout the game. The Marlins swung at 48 percent of Kirby’s pitches off the plate, and 58 percent of his fastballs out of the zone.
“I was able to expand the slider a little bit today,” Kirby said. “But yeah, if I’m living in the zone, they’ve got to protect anything on the outer half. So I’m going to keep doing that.”
Kirby’s final out came when he whiffed Marlins designated hitter Garrett Cooper to end the sixth inning, the 10th and final strikeout that give him a new career-best. Kirby also recorded his 200th career strikeout in the fifth inning, also against Cooper.
“He’s got a good fastball,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “… He threw it up in the zone and we just couldn’t catch up to it or get on top of it as much as we wanted to.”
The Mariners took the lead in the second when Cal Raleigh hit a three-run homer to right field off Marlins starter Edward Cabrera (5-5), and added to it on Mike Ford’s two-run homer in the fourth. Ford also hit a solo homer in the eighth for the second multi-homer game of his career. The other also came at T-Mobile Park on Aug. 26, 2019, when Ford was a New York Yankee.
Ford, brought back to the majors on June 2, has three home runs in his last four games, and finished with three hits on Tuesday.
“Good for Mike Ford,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “You know, obviously starting the season on a tear in Triple-A. He’d been with us in the past but I think he’s got a little bit different attitude about his opportunity here this time, and it’s starting to show.”
José Caballero drove in three more runs for Seattle with a bases-loaded triple in the sixth.
Jorge Soler’s sixth-inning RBI single scored Miami’s first run, and Garrett Cooper hit a two-run homer off Chris Flexen in the eighth.
MLB leading hitter Luis Arraez went 0-for-5 to drop his batting average to .382. Arraez is now 0-for-9 in the series, after coming in with a .397 average on the season.
“He’s a really good hitter, and we’ve been a little lucky,” Servais said. “He’s hit some balls right at some people, and that’s what we need to happen, … the bat, the ball skill is just incredible. We need to be a little lucky, guys in the right place, right time. But we have pitched him well.”
Marlins shortstop Joey Wendle was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game with what Schumaker said was an adductor injury near his left groin.
Miami recalled RHP Archie Bradley from Triple-A Jacksonville, and optioned RHP Huascar Brazoban. To make room on the 40-man roster, LHP Trevor Rogers (bicep) was transferred to the 60-day injured list.
Rookie right-hander Eury Pérez (3-1, 2.17 ERA) will pitch on Wednesday for Miami in the series finale. Pérez has allowed just one earned run over his past three outings. RHP Luis Castillo (4-4, 2.70 ERA) will get the start for Seattle. Castillo lost his last two starts, but allowed a total of only four earned runs.