ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Jon Gray threw another gem for the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, who are in pretty good shape even when their offense doesn't have one of those breakout games that have become so common.
Gray pitched two-hit ball over seven innings to win his fifth consecutive start, outpitching Luis Castillo as the Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 2-0 on Friday night in a game that took only 2 hours, 5 minutes.
“Things are moving faster, you're in and out,” Gray said. “You're not waiting a lot. I feel like it’s really like a race to the finish, like a sprint. But it's a lot of fun.”
Gray (6-1) struck out five, walked one and hit a batter while throwing 57 of his 82 pitches for strikes. The right-hander didn't come out for the eighth to avoid a blister from developing on his hand, and said all is good.
“I saw a guy that was on top of his game again. Really good stuff,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Really, really nice job. We needed it because their guy was really good too.”
Marcus Semien scored the game's first run after extending his major league-best hitting streak to 21 games in the the sixth and scored on Nathaniel Lowe's sacrifice fly. Corey Seager later had a RBI double for the Rangers, who have won 18 of their last 25 games.
Castillo (4-3) limited the Rangers to one run over seven innings with six strikeouts and one walk. Texas entered averaging an MLB-best 6.29 runs per game and had scored 11 runs in each of its previous two home games - though those were before a 6-3 trip with series wins in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Detroit.
“Luis Castillo, can’t say enough,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He went out there seven innings against probably one of the hottest offenses in the game, and to pitch the way he did, I feel bad we didn’t do anything for him offensively."
The Mariners were shut out for the fourth time this season.
Castillo had thrown 12 scoreless innings over his last two outings and extended that streak to 17 before Texas got to him in the sixth. Semien had a leadoff single, moved to third on Seager’s single and scored on Nathaniel Lowe’s sacrifice fly. The 21-game hitting streak is the longest of Semien’s career.
Grant Anderson, who made his big league debut Tuesday for Texas with seven strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings at Detroit, worked a scoreless eighth with one strikeout. Will Smith worked a perfect ninth for his 10th save in 11 chances, wrapping up the Rangers' sixth shutout.
Gray was 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA in May, when the Rangers won all five of his starts. His streak of winning five starts in a row began when he allowed one run over seven innings in a 2-1 win in Seattle on May 8.
“Just been a higher level of confidence with everything. Not worrying so much, you know, if something bad happens,” Gray said. “I feel like we’re just we’re staying on the attack. We’re not walking guys, not letting big innings happen. And I think that’s what’s keeping us rolling.”
AN ASSIST AND A PICK
Teoscar Hernández led off the Mariners third with their first hit, a bloop down the right-field line, and was thrown out by several steps trying to stretch that to a double. It was the MLB-leading ninth outfield assist for right fielder Adolis Garcia, and his fourth in the last nine games he has played in the field.
That same inning ended when No. 9 batter José Caballero was hit by a pitch, and then Gray picked off the rookie at first.
Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales remained in Seattle for tests on his left forearm and will not make his scheduled start Saturday. He felt discomfort during his last start Sunday and in a bullpen session this week.
Rangers: C Mitch Garver was activated from the 10-day injured list after missing 47 games since April 8 because of a left knee sprain. He wasn't in the lineup for his first game back.
Right-hander Bryan Woo will make his big league debut for the Mariners, pitching in the spot of Gonzales. The 23-year-old Woo, a sixth-round draft pick in 2021, was 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA and 32 strikeouts in five starts for Double-A Arkansas. Texas lefty Andrew Heaney (4-3, 3.76) is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA his last three starts.
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