CHICAGO (AP) — The Seattle Mariners played without Julio Rodríguez, and it didn’t matter. Not one bit.
That’s how it’s going right now for Cal Raleigh and company.
Raleigh homered twice and drove in six runs, and the Mariners beat the Chicago White Sox 14-2 on Monday night for their seventh straight victory.
With Rodríguez resting amid a torrid stretch at the plate, Seattle used a fast start to improve to 32-13 since July 1. Luis Castillo (10-7) pitched seven innings of one-run ball in his third consecutive win, finishing his outing with 47 straight fastballs.
“We’re having good timely hitting. We’re taking our walks. When pitchers make mistakes, we’re taking advantage of it,” Raleigh said. “That’s just kind of what happens when you’re playing good clean ball.”
The Mariners (70-55) remained in third in the AL West, just a half-game back of second-place Houston. Texas is on top of the division.
“Everybody contributing, that’s what it’s been here for the last couple weeks,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
Raleigh and Teoscar Hernández opened the fifth with back-to-back homers off Touki Toussaint (1-6), increasing Seattle’s lead to 7-1. Raleigh added a three-run shot in the eighth against Brent Honeywell, and Dominic Canzone also went deep.
Raleigh upped his total to 24 homers on the year. It was his fifth multihomer game of the season and No. 7 for his career.
“It all starts on the fastball, getting ready for that pitch and being in a good position to hit,” he said.
The lowly White Sox (49-76) lost for the seventh time in nine games. They have been outscored 44-18 in their last four games.
All-Star center fielder Luis Robert Jr. robbed Seattle’s Mike Ford of a potential homer with a leaping grab at the wall in the fifth. Robert was replaced by Trayce Thompson before the Mariners batted in the seventh, but manager Pedro Grifol said he just wanted to give the slugger a break.
Taking advantage of Toussaint’s control problems, Seattle pushed across five runs in the first. Toussaint issued four walks in the inning, and three of those baserunners came around to score.
J.P. Crawford hustled home on a wild pitch, and Raleigh hit a two-run double. Raleigh scored on a throwing error on catcher Yasmani Grandal, and Josh Rojas added an RBI single.
“They just waited me out,” Toussaint said. “They were patient. They weren’t swinging at anything. I need to do a better job of throwing strikes, especially with teams like that who are going to be patient.”
Toussaint departed after the back-to-back homers in the fifth. The right-hander dropped to 0-3 with an 8.84 ERA in his last four starts.
One day after Seattle used seven relievers in a 7-6 win at Houston, Castillo turned in a crisp performance. Relying heavily on his two-seam and four-seam fastballs, the All-Star right-hander allowed five hits, struck out nine and walked none.
“Once you go out there, the game talks to you,” Castillo said through a translator, “and it showed me the approach of how to approach these players. The approach that it told me was to go out there and attack every batter that I faced tonight.”
White Sox slugger Eloy Jiménez went 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI double in his return to the lineup. Jiménez was activated from the paternity list, and right-hander Declan Cronin was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte.
Jiménez experienced some groin tightness during a 5-3 victory over the Cubs last week, but Grifol said he was ready to play.
Mariners: Crawford was activated from the seven-day injured list after he was sidelined by a concussion. RHP Emerson Hancock was placed on the 15-day IL with a right shoulder strain. RHP Darren McCaughan was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma, and utilityman Sam Haggerty was sent down.
Seattle rookie Bryan Woo (1-3, 4.75 ERA) faces fellow right-hander Mike Clevinger (5-5, 3.26 ERA) on Tuesday night. Woo is making his first big league start since Aug. 3. He had been sidelined by forearm inflammation. Clevinger is 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA in his last four starts for Chicago.