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Seattle Mariners

Logan Gilbert delivers another sterling performance in Mariners’ rout of Marlins

Seattle Mariners starter Logan Gilbert pitches against the Miami Marlins during the first inning of the game at LoanDepot Park on Saturday in Miami.  (Getty Images)
By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

MIAMI – Just find a way to give him three runs while he’s in the game.

It doesn’t matter how you score them or when you score them as long as he’s in the game. When the Mariners can do that for Logan Gilbert, he usually finds a way to pitch them to victory.

Unfortunately for the lanky right-hander, the Mariners’ production-challenged offense has struggled to provide that paltry amount more often than expected. They are averaging 2.3 runs per start while he’s in the game this season – which is among the lowest in the American League.

But on Saturday, the Mariners gave Gilbert enough run support for three outings and he wasn’t about to waste it in a 9-0 pasting of the Marlins.

With friends and family making the trip south from the Orlando, Florida, area to Miami to see him start, and their boisterous support heard easily in the announced crowd of 13,217, Gilbert delivered another stellar outing in a season filled with them.

The lanky right-hander pitched eight scoreless innings, allowing four hits with a walk and six strikeouts to improve to 5-4 on the season. He lowered his overall ERA to 2.71 and improved an already-strong resume for a spot on the AL All-Star team. It was the third time this season, he pitched eight scoreless innings in a game.

“You can’t talk about this game without talking about Logan Gilbert and the stretch that he is on right now,” M’s manager Scott Servais said. “It has been awesome to watch. I’m so proud of him as he continues to go through his career with just how focused he is on getting better.”

Gilbert has a 34-0 record in games in which the Mariners have scored three runs in the game and he’s figured into the decision while the team has a 42-9 overall record in those outings. He also improved to 25-7 in 55 road starts in his career.

“He should go to the All-Star Game,” Servais said. “I think he’s one of the best pitchers in the league. He certainly has showed that here over the last three or four or five starts.”

Taking advantage of the Marlins swing-first, swing-often and swing-at-most things approach, Gilbert fired first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 28 batters he faced. He didn’t throw a pitch taken for a ball until two pitches into the third inning. Gilbert threw 20 pitches over the first three innings with 18 strikes. He watched George Kirby have success early in Friday’s start.

“They’re very aggressive,” Gilbert said. “Their first seven guys were pretty aggressive with a couple of patient guys. You just try go get ahead, obviously, like every other team, but then you can expand a little more. I saw George doing that. They’re ready hit and swing from pitch one.

“You want to make a good pitch to start and expand from there.”

Gilbert gave up leadoff singles on first pitches to start the first two innings. But he also needed just one pitch to the subsequent hitter to generate a ground ball for a double play.

“The double plays were huge to help me settle in,” Gilbert said. “The defense really picked me up today and, of course, the offense with the runs.”

When the Mariners had two quick runs in the first inning, scoring on a wild pitch and a sac fly from Cal Raleigh, and then didn’t score for the next two innings, it was easy to assume a repeat of Friday’s failures to add to a similar early lead.

But Seattle broke the game open, scoring four runs in the top of the fourth off Marlins starter Shaun Anderson.

Luke Raley set the tone with a leadoff triple into the right corner, displaying his plus speed and “unique” running form.

“Everything that Luke does jolts us awake,” Servais said. “Everything he does at 110 percent. Whether he has success or note, you know he’s going to play hard. And it rubs off on people.”

Raley scored moments later when Dominic Canzone lined a crisp single to center – his first of four hits on the night – to make it 3-0.

The Mariners didn’t let up on Anderson, who was making the start in place of Jesus Luzardo. Dylan Moore ripped a double into left field to put runners on second and third with no outs. Ryan Bliss followed with an RBI single up the middle to push the lead to 4-0.

Moore and Bliss would score on J.P. Crawford’s hard ground ball that got past Josh Bell at first base.

Given a big lead, Gilbert didn’t let up.

“It’s not something that affects me,” he said. ” If we have 10 runs, I’m still trying to come out of there with no runs.”

Seattle continued to add to the lead against the overworked Marlins bullpen.

Canzone, who has made some adjustment to his swing, specifically scrapping his high front leg kick and replacing it with a more controlled to tap, blasted a solo homer into the upper deck of right field in the fifth inning.

“The results obviously are great and all, but I felt like I’ve barreled up some balls that have kind of gone at people as well,” he said. “I’m just trying my best to just be process oriented.”

The Mariners added two more runs in the eighth inning.

Canzone singled and scored on Moore’s double to left-center. Bliss collected his third hit of the game and sixth hit of the series with a double to right-center, scoring Moore.

Canzone, Moore and Bliss – the 7-8-9 hitters in the lineup – combined to tally nine hits and scored six runs while driving in five. Bliss has six hits in the first two games.”

“The bottom of the order was on it,” Servais said. “Dom Canzone had a big night and Ryan Bliss is smoking hot the last couple of days, which is great to see when young players start settle in and take off.”

With a 9-0 lead and Gilbert at 92 pitches, Servais opted to go to the bullpen. It didn’t please Gilbert, who eschewed Servais’ handshake in the dugout to let him know he was done for the night.

“I love that about Logan and really all of our guys really,” Servais said. “They all want it. It’s hard to get complete games in this league. And quite frankly, if the game would have been closer, I’d have been more inclined to let him go. But we’ve got so many big games ahead of us.”

Gilbert didn’t regret his reaction. He thought about avoiding Servais in the dugout to try and get out for the ninth.

“I understand they have our best interests in mind and are trying to protect us, but in the moment you just want to keep going,” Gilbert said.

His next start come against the Orioles next week at T-Mobile Park. And the All-Star Game in three weeks?

“You try not to think about it, honestly,” he said. “It would be great if it happens, but that’s not the focus. The way that we’re playing right now is really exciting. The lead we have in the AL West, that’s always going to take precedence.”