Castillo brilliant as Mariners shutout Blue Jays in Game 1 of AL wild-card

By Lucas Casaletto

Seattle Mariners ace Luis Castillo pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings to lead his club to a 4-0 win in Game 1 of the American League wild-card series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Castillo, who the Mariners acquired on July 30, allowed only six hits and struck out five on a night where the Blue Jays struggled to get anything going at the plate. He did not walk a batter.

The last time the Blue Jays were shutout at the Rogers Centre was Sept. 15 in an 11-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

It’s Seattle’s first postseason win since 2001 — the last time the club qualified for fall ball.

Alek Manoah struggled in his first postseason start, lasting only 5 2/3 innings while surrendering four earned runs. Three of those four runs came in the first inning on an RBI double by Eugenio Suarez and a two-run home run by Cal Raleigh.

Manoah also hit Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez twice as he battled command of his pitches, including in the game’s first at-bat, which led to the Suarez double. The 24-year-old settled down and had retired nine batters in a row at one point, but a high pitch count led to him being replaced before completing six innings.

It’s the first start Manoah has failed to pitch six innings since Aug. 16 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Suarez and Raleigh knocked in all four runs on Friday. Blue Jays outfielder George Springer had two hits, while Matt Chapman added a double.

“Win a World Series. That’s our goal,” Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford said after the game. “Everyone has bought in, and that’s our mindset when we came to the ballpark every day.”

Gausman, Ray confirmed as Game 2 starters

Toronto has its back against the wall in a must-win Game 2 on Saturday. Manager John Schneider confirmed post-game that Kevin Gausman would start on Saturday.

Mariners left-hander and former Blue Jays pitcher Robbie Ray is expected to get the nod for Seattle.

“I’ve never pitched in an elimination game before. But I started the last game of the season in ’16 (with the Baltimore Orioles), and we needed to win that game,” said Gausman, who allowed two runs in 7.1 innings of a 5-2 win over the New York Yankees to clinch a wild-card berth.

“I’ve pitched a lot of meaningful games in my career… just going to go out there and pitch to my strengths.”

Springer, who was hit in the wrist area by a pitch in his final at-bat, had x-rays done after the game, which came back negative. It’s unclear if he’s at risk of missing Game 2.

“Baseball is tough, and over the course of 162 [games], anything can happen on any given night,” he continued.

First pitch goes at 4:07 p.m. ET on Saturday in Toronto.

Elsewhere in the league, the Cleveland Guardians beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 to take Game 1 in their wild-card series. The Philadelphia Phillies upset the St. Louis Cardinals in a 6-3 win, with the San Diego Padres beating the New York Mets 7-1.

With files from Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi

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