SEATTLE (AP) — Aaron Civale pitched seven smooth innings, and Josh Naylor and Andrés Giménez homered as the Cleveland Guardians beat the Seattle Mariners 2-0 on Saturday night.
Civale allowed only two hits and a walk with three strikeouts. The seven-inning stint matched his longest outing of last season.
“He pitched his heart out. I thought he pitched a great game. When Aaron’s going good, that’s what it is,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “He pitched to contact. I think he had 10 groundball outs.”
Julio Rodríguez had both hits off Civale, and Tommy La Stella doubled for the Mariners.
“He was rolling out there,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Tough night offensively. I really do have to give credit to Civale. He was on top of his game, and that was as good as we’ve ever seen him.”
It was the third career start for Civale in Seattle, and his first win. In his previous two he was 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA and had given up four homers.
Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth for his first save, completing a crisp game that took just 2 hours, 4 minutes — the fastest in the majors over the first three days under baseball's new speed-up rules.
“I like moving fast, working fast, and their guy was, too,” Mariners starter Logan Gilbert said. “We were just going back and forth. I was just trying to stay in a groove, and especially when it’s cold like this, just work fast and make them put it in play.”
Civale thought his pitches were working well, but he also credited the Guardians’ defensive play.
“It’s unbelievable when your whole team is involved,” Civale said. “It’s what happens when you’re working fast, in the zone and on the same page as your catcher. Everyone’s into the game.”
On a chilly night, pitching dominated. Gilbert nearly matched Civale, striking out seven in six innings and allowing four hits.
Gilbert’s only costly mistake came in the fourth, when Naylor hit Cleveland’s first homer of the season.
Diego Castillo relieved in the seventh and promptly gave up a one-out homer to Giménez, the All-Star second baseman who signed a $106.5 million, seven-year contract on opening day.
Seattle’s best offensive chance came in the eighth, when La Stella hit a one-out double against James Karinchak. J.P. Crawford walked with two outs before Karinchak struck out Rodríguez.
“We didn’t put up too many runs today, but it was enough,” said Guardians catcher Cam Gallagher. “All the pitchers today did a heck of a job.”
Karinchak, charged with the Guardians' first pitch-clock violation in Thursday’s opener, was again assessed an automatic ball for taking too long against pinch-hitter Cal Raleigh in the eighth. The Seattle crowd loudly counted down with the clock before each of Karinchak’s pitches.
Seattle starter Robbie Ray was placed on the 15-day injured list because of a left flexor strain, a day after Ray failed to make it through the fourth inning of a 9-4 loss to Cleveland, struggling badly with his control. Ray won’t throw for two weeks and will be re-evaluated. The Mariners didn’t have any pitcher miss a start last season due to injury.
Guardians RHP Cal Quantrill and Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales square off in the finale of the four-game series Sunday.
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