The Mariners clubhouse was quiet early Wednesday morning with players allowed to arrive a little later than normal for the afternoon homestand finale.
If it felt like they’d just left T-Mobile Park, it’s because they did. Less than 11 hours before they were basking in the adrenaline and euphoria from Tuesday night’s epic 1-0 walk-off victory over the Yankees.
Given their occupation, players aren’t morning people. Most slowly trickled in about three hours before first pitch, carrying cups of coffee or in search of it.
It might be a four-cup morning.
But it was certainly easier to arrive at the park following that kind of late-inning win instead of a crushing defeat.
“Quick turnaround, but a lot of fun last night,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
For Servais and the coaching staff, they arrived hours before the players. There was another game to get ready for along with roster moves to make.
How much sleep did he actually get?
“A couple of hours,” he said. “It’s hard to unwind after a game like that. There’s so much going on. It was a lot of fun. You just don’t see those games that often. It’s fun to be a part of.”
After the game, Servais said it was the best pitching he’d ever seen in a Major League Baseball game.
The short night of sleep had not changed his thinking.
“That’s the best pitched game I’ve been a part of and it’s not even close,” he said. “I’ve seen over 3,000 games. I started adding up when I was driving home last night, from a player to a manager to all the other stuff I’ve done in the game, I’ve never seen a game pitched that well with the quality of stuff and the execution by those guys.”
The Yankees used seven pitchers to cover 12 1/3 innings, allowing one run on seven hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts.
The Mariners relied on five pitchers to cover 13 scoreless innings, allowing three hits with four walks and 14 strikeouts.
Of the 367 pitches in the game, 202 had a velocity of 95 mph or higher. Per MLB Statcast, there 10 pitches with velocities of 99.5 mph or higher. Andres Munoz threw the hardest pitch of the night with a 101.7 mph fastball to Andrew Benintendi.
Of those 367 pitches, the Yankees generated 19 swings and misses while the Mariners, led by starter Luis Castillo (20), elicited 34 swings and misses.
Pitching at T-Mobile Park for the first time and facing the Yankees in back-to-back starts, Castillo was brilliant, allowing three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
“The movement on the fastball is unbelievable,” Servais said. “These are the best hitters in the world, they know what’s coming and they can’t make contact with it. Even if they do, they don’t square it up on the barrel. That says a lot and he’s got the secondary pitches to go along with it. Unbelievable job by him.”
If you throw in his start at Yankee Stadium with the Reds on July 14, Castillo faced the Bronx Bombers in three of his last four starts — a span of 27 days.
In those three starts, he pitched a total of 21 2/3 innings, allowing four runs (1.66 ERA) on 10 hits with nine walks and 23 strikeouts. New York hitters have a .139/.244/.222 slash line against him. Castillo has been everything the Mariners expected when they acquired him for four prospects at the MLB trade deadline.
“We’ll see how it all plays out, but what a trade,” Servais said. “When you get that type of quality pitcher at the top of your rotation, I don’t think anybody should look back. That’s how you make trades. I tip my hat to our front office and our ownership for going for it we needed help with the rotation. This guy’s a front-line starter and it’s fun to watch.”
From the bullpen, Matt Brash and his fellow relievers were left in a bit of awe watching Castillo do his thing in two starts.
“We joke around, saying ‘I don’t know how guys hit him,’” Brash said. “He’s everything you want as a pitcher. His fastball moves more than people’s off-speed. The guy is incredible. I’m so happy he’s part of this team and every time he goes out there we know we have a really good chance of winning.”
Brash was credited for the win in the marathon, pitching the final two innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
In a game filled with great defensive plays, his might have been the best. With automatic runner Jose Trevino on second base, Brash thwarted Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s sac bunt attempts to start the inning with pair of nasty pitches for a foul ball and a called strike. Kiner-Falefa hit a comebacker to the mound that Brash instinctively reached around his back with his glove hand and somehow caught it.
“I don’t even know what happened,” he said laughing. “All I remember is I used to do this back in Canada when I was growing up. I used to try to do it all the time. And I’ve never got one and I did it.”
Thinking the ball was going to get up the middle, Trevino had taken off for third base and tried to stop. Brash immediately fired the ball to J.P. Crawford.
“I didn’t know if I had it in my glove and then once I did, I just ran at the runner,” Brash said. “Instinct took over. And I just wanted to get rid of the ball so the professional fielders could do what they were supposed to do.”
Crawford sprinted after Trevino, who headed for third. He flipped the ball to Eugenio Suarez, who tagged Trevino and saw Kiner-Falefa trying to get to second. He made a running toss to second baseman Adam Frazier, who chased after Kiner-Falefa until he ran out of the baseline and was called out.
Score it a 1-6-5-4 double play.
“That’s got to be on the highlight reels,” Servais said. “Baseball is just crazy. You never know what you are going to see when you come to the ballpark.”