DETROIT — This wasn’t like the frustrating three-game series in Texas and Oakland on the previous road trip, where they managed to win just one game in each.

It certainly was different from the galling 1-1 split in a two-game series with the Nationals, who have the worst record in Major League Baseball, on the recent homestand.

Nope, this time the results followed the discrepancy in talent and accomplishment.

More

With a coldly efficient 7-0 dismantling of Detroit on Thursday afternoon, the Mariners completed a decisive three-game sweep at Comerica Park, looking every bit like a playoff-caliber team, while making the hapless Tigers look even worse than their 50-81 record, which is second worst in the American League.

It was the Mariners’ first sweep of the Tigers in Detroit since 2012.

Advertising

The Mariners improved to 73-58 and moved into a tie with the Rays, who had an off day, for the top wild-card spot in the American League. The Blue Jays were also off Thursday and remain two games back of Tampa and Seattle.

“We were very businesslike and came in here and did what we needed to do,” manager Scott Servais said. “It was a really good series. Obviously Detroit’s having a rough season, but you’ve got to come in here, and it doesn’t matter who you play at this time of year, you’ve got to take care of business. I thought that’s what our guys did.”

Over the three games, Mariners pitchers allowed just six runs on 19 hits with five walks and 26 strikeouts. Detroit didn’t hit a homer and only had three extra-base hits while batting .191 (19 for 99).

The Mariners offense racked up 21 runs over three games on 29 hits with four doubles, a triple, seven homers, 11 walks and 22 strikeouts and batted .320 (8-for-25) with runners in scoring position.

“I think we’re getting better,” Servais said. “That’s the best way to put it. You’ve often heard me talk about: ‘Doesn’t matter, get better.’ We’re getting better at the right time.

“Ty France is better right now that he was few weeks ago. We’ve got a number of guys that are trending — as Julio (Rodriguez) would say — in the right direction. That’s a really good sign. That’s what makes me excited. Guys are excited to come to the ballpark every day because I don’t think we’ve reached our ceiling yet. And it’s a really high one.”

Advertising

The road trip will get more difficult for the Mariners as they travel to Cleveland for a weekend series with the Guardians, who lead the AL Central. The Mariners just took three of four vs. Cleveland to close out the recent homestand in hard-fought games that had a postseason feel.

Luis Castillo will get the start in Friday’s series opener with Robbie Ray pitching on Saturday and George Kirby in Sunday’s finale. All three would like to repeat what Logan Gilbert did on Thursday, leading the Mariners to their sixth shutout of the season.

Gilbert worked six scoreless frames while relievers Matt Brash, Matthew Boyd and Penn Murfee added scoreless innings. The offense provided ample run support early, scoring six runs off Tigers starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez in the first four innings to remove any drama.

Gilbert delivered a dominant outing, reminiscent of his work before the All-Star break. Using a lively fastball that was in the upper 90s more than half the time, he carved up Tigers hitters, allowing just three base runners on two hits and a walk while striking out nine to improve to 11-5 and lower his ERA to 3.35.

“The pitching all series long I thought was outstanding and none better than what we saw with Logan today,” Servais said. “He needed one of those outings.”

Of his 84 pitches, 57 were strikes. He had 17 swings and misses, including 10 off his fastball.

Advertising

“I felt like I was using it effectively early on, and I was getting it into the good parts of the strike zone,” Gilbert said.

He threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 21 batters he faced and he had just four three-ball counts.

“When I’m at my best, that’s the first step,” Gilbert said. “We talk about it all the time. It’s really just simplifying it. I’m not trying to be too complicated. Just get ahead, get in good counts and adjust from there.”

With a comfortable 6-0 lead and given Gilbert’s workload up to 155 2/3 innings, the Mariners decided to go to the bullpen and give him some additional rest, particularly with no extra rest before his next scheduled start, which would be on Tuesday vs. the White Sox.  

The Mariners picked up a run in the first inning on Eugenio Suarez’s RBI single. Rodriguez and Ty France made it 3-0 in the third, launching back-to-back solo homers to start the inning.

The Mariners broke it open in the fourth. Curt Casali hammered a two-run double into the right-center gap, and France added an RBI single to push the lead to 6-0. Playing sparingly as a backup, it was just Casali’s second hit since being acquired at the trade deadline.

Sponsored

“Oh hell yeah that swing felt good, especially with it going to right-center,” Casali said. “My dad will be happy. He loves that. It’s always good to contribute.”

But the swing didn’t feel as good as catching nine shutout innings.

“It’s a shutout, no doubt,” Casali said. “I haven’t caught one this year. I had a good run catching them last year. If they’re not scoring runs it means I’m doing my job by helping the pitchers doing their jobs. That’s my responsibility.”

BOX SCORE