Mariners vs. Rays: Raleigh rocks, Kirby continues his scorching month, Garver goes long twice

Other than a blown 11-3 loss on Tuesday, Seattle kept it competitive and were able to avoid a sweep with a win in the finale against the Rays
Seattle Mariners v Tampa Bay Rays
Seattle Mariners v Tampa Bay Rays / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages
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It was an ugly road trip but it's over now. The Mariners lost three series in a row against the Guardians, Marlins, and Rays but were able to end strong with a 5-2 win over Tampa Bay. With the Astros on a hot streak of their own, winning seven straight, to draw within 4.5 games of Seattle, the Mariners will have to hope their success at home continues if they want to maintain their lead.

Best Hitter: Cal Raleigh

12 PA, .375/.583/1.125, 3 H, 2 HR, 2R, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 1 K, 1 SB

Cal was cooking in St. Petersburg, posting a ridiculous 1.708 OPS over his 12 plate appearances. He tied Mitch Garver in total bases with nine but his four walks and just one strikeout set him apart. Combined with his excellent plate discipline in these three games was his signature power, culminating in a 423-foot home run on Monday and a 422-foot home run on Wednesday.

Cal has been torching baseballs this year and his average exit velocity of 92.2 mph is the highest it has ever been in his career. His slugging numbers and counting stats have been dragged down by his poor strikeout rate but he showed his ability to be the best of both worlds in this series. Crucially, he leads the Mariners in RBI and his performance against the Rays lifted his season total to 49, 18 more than second-place Mitch Garver.

Honorable Mention: J.P. Crawford

13 PA, .444/.615/.667, 4 H, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 SB

Crawford continued his slow but steady upward trend, bringing his June OPS to .729 over 107 plate appearances. He's still the patient, disciplined hitter fans have come to know and love and did a little bit of everything this week, hitting for average, hitting with runners in scoring position, and even stealing a base. He hasn't yet returned to the heights we saw in 2023 but there's still plenty of season left.