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Bottoms up: Mariners bid for series sweep of Marlins

Jun 13, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners designated hitter Mike Ford (20) high-fives teammates in the dugout after scoring a run against the Miami Marlins during the sixth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Managers often talk about the importance of turning over the batting order, getting back to the top of the lineup.

The Seattle Mariners were content to stay at the bottom Tuesday night.

Nos. 7-9 batters Cal Raleigh, Mike Ford and Jose Caballero combined to go 6-for-10 with a triple, three home runs and nine RBIs as the Mariners recorded a 9-3 win over the visiting Miami Marlins.

The Mariners will go for a sweep of the three-game interleague series Wednesday night in Seattle.

“We’re normally a little top-heavy,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of his lineup’s production. “But (Tuesday) it was all about the guys at the bottom.”

Remarkably, the Mariners’ top four hitters combined to go 0-for-16, but the rest of the lineup more than made up for it.

Raleigh, mired in an 0-for-21 slump that caused him to trim his goatee back to a mustache, broke a scoreless tie with a three-run homer in the second inning.

Ford, called up from Triple-A Tacoma on June 2, hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and went deep to lead off the eighth.

Ford, a 30-year-old who played for four teams last season — San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta and the Los Angeles Angels — has four homers in 22 major-league at-bats this season.

“I want to stay, so I’m trying to do my best,” Ford said.

Caballero, a rookie who has taken over the starting job at second base from Kolten Wong, hit a three-run triple in the sixth inning to give Seattle an 8-1 lead.

The Marlins, who entered the series having won 12 of their previous 15 games, have been outscored 17-4 the past two nights. They’ve managed just one unearned run on four hits combined against Seattle starters Bryce Miller and George Kirby, who each went six innings.

“I never want to say (we’re) due for a dud,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “I don’t want to ever put it like that because our team is too good. We feel like we should win every game when we come into the ballpark. We just played a little sloppy (the past two days), and those games are going to happen every now and then. … But we’ll be back at it (Wednesday).”

The Marlins’ Luis Arraez went hitless for the second straight night as his MLB-leading average dropped to .382.

“Arraez is not going to get a hit or two every single game,” Schumaker said.

The series finale is expected to feature a pair of right-handers in 20-year-old Marlins rookie Eury Perez (3-1, 2.17 ERA) against Mariners ace Luis Castillo (4-4, 2.70).

This will be the seventh career start for Perez and his first against Seattle.

Over his past three starts, Perez has allowed one run on 11 hits in 15 innings, with seven walks and 14 strikeouts. He didn’t receive a decision in a 2-1 loss last Friday against the host Chicago White Sox. He went five innings and gave up one run on five hits, with two walks and six strikeouts.

Castillo is 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA in six career starts against the Marlins.

Castillo has lost his past two starts despite allowing just four earned runs. The right-hander absorbed a 5-4 defeat last Friday against the host Angels — giving up a pair of two-run homers — despite striking out 10.

–Field Level Media