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Seattle Mariners

Mariners’ Andres Munoz gives up three runs in 8th in 4-3 loss to Cleveland

Ryan Divish Seattle Times

When Jake Lamb launched a mammoth solo homer in the bottom of the seventh inning, sending a “sold-out” crowd of 45,586 into a frenzy, providing a surreal moment for a kid that grew up on Queen Anne and went to Mariners games as a kid, victory seemed apparent if not automatic.

In the bullpen, Andres Munoz was warming to face the top of the Cleveland Guardians order in the top of the eighth after the garish entrance video and music debuted during this homestand.

Lamb had just provided one big run of cushion, turning a one-run game into a two-run lead.

But for the first time since July 28, the hard-throwing Munoz couldn’t hold a lead.

Munoz gave up three runs in the eighth inning and the Mariners offense couldn’t pick up a bullpen that had saved them from defeat so many times this season.

Cleveland reliever James Karinchak, a twitching, hair-touching over-the-top right-hander, worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning and Emmanuel Clase retired Julio Rodriguez, Dylan Moore and Mitch Haniger in order in the ninth inning to secure a 4-3 Guardians victory and notch his 30th save on the season.

It was a wasted opportunity for the Mariners with the Blue Jays and Rays both losing earlier in the day.

After an atypical performance in his last outing where he allowed four runs on eight hits, Luis Castillo delivered a scintillating performance against a team that he’s struggled against in his career.

Using a deft four-pitch mix, Castillo pitched six innings, allowing one run on four hits with a walk and 10 strikeouts. Of his 115 pitches, 85 were strikes including 21 swings and misses. The 10 punchouts were impressive considering the Guardians came into the game striking out in just 18.3% of their plate appearances. The lost percentage in the majors.

Castillo had also struggled against Cleveland in four previous outings, including two last season. In two starts in 2021, he gave up 14 runs (12 earned) on 12 hits with five walks and only four strikeouts.

Cleveland starter Zach Plesac turned in an equally strong performance — working seven innings, allowing three runs on three hits — all solo homers — with no walks and six strikeouts.

The Mariners provided Castillo with the first two solo homers off Plesac as run support while he was in the game.

Eugenio Suarez crushed a solo homer off the facing of the upper deck in left-center for his team-high 24th homer in the second inning. It was Suarez’s 10th time facing Plesac in his career and both of his hits off him were homers.

In the third inning, Rodriguez, who became a much wealthier baseball player over the previous 24 hours, launched a towering fly ball to left field that carried over the wall for his 21st homer of the season and a 2-0 lead.

Cleveland got a run back in the fourth inning when Jose Ramirez hammered a low changeup on an 0-1 count deep into the right-field seats for his 26th homer of the season.

Castillo made that 2-1 lead hold up for the rest of his start and turned it over to the bullpen, which is normally an automatic win.

Diego Castillo worked a scoreless seventh against the bottom of Cleveland’s order with Munoz slated to face the top of it.