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It’s Castillo vs. Castillo as Royals host Mariners

It will be an all-Castillo affair on Sunday in Kansas City.

The Seattle Mariners (83-68) and the Kansas City Royals (62-90) will conclude their three-game series and the home portion of the Royals’ 2022 schedule on Sunday. The Mariners will hand the ball to Luis Castillo (7-6, 2.85 ERA), while the Royals will counter with Max Castillo (0-1, 2.97) in a matchup of right-handers.

The Mariners came from behind to defeat the Royals 6-5 Saturday night to even the series at a game apiece. Cal Raleigh hit an RBI double in the ninth to drive in the winning run. Raleigh’s two-run, pinch-hit home in the sixth tied the game.

With the win, Seattle extended its lead for the final American League wild-card spot to four games over Baltimore after the Orioles gave up four runs in the ninth to lose to the Houston Astros 11-10.

The Mariners have not been to the playoffs since 2001, the longest postseason drought in North American major sports.

Even with the win, the Mariners have lost seven of their past 11 games. The offense has been struggling. The Mariners scored a combined 12 runs in those seven losses, with seven of the runs coming in an 8-7 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Sept. 16.

Luis Castillo made news Saturday when he agreed to a five-year, $108 million extension that begins next season and runs through 2027. Both the club and player have contract options that could extend the deal through 2028.

“Luis has been one of the top pitchers in MLB over the past six seasons,” Jerry Dipoto, Seattle’s president of baseball operations, said in a news release. “He is a dynamic power pitcher in the prime of his career with a track record of consistency. Bringing him to Seattle represented a key moment in our ongoing efforts to build a championship roster. Similarly, this deal illustrates our continued commitment to both the present and future of this team.”

He was acquired by the Mariners on July 29 from Cincinnati ahead of the trade deadline. He’s 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA and 64 strikeouts with the Mariners. The strikeouts are a franchise record for a pitcher in his first nine starts with Seattle.

In three career starts against the Royals, he’s 0-1 with a 2.20 ERA.

Max Castillo has faced the Mariners twice (one start) this season, both times as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. He went to Kansas City as part of the deal that sent Whit Merrifield to the Jays. He’s allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits in 7 1/3 innings.

He’s been effective in his two starts with the Royals, combining for 9 2/3 innings, but he took the loss in his Kansas City debut on Aug. 18 against the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s allowed three runs on eight hits, including a home run in each start.

“He had great command of the fastball,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said after Castillo’s Royals debut. “The slider was better than what I remember it being. We knew the changeup was a plus pitch. The movement, the location that he had with the fastball. He didn’t make really any mistakes in the middle of the plate. Actually, the home run was a pretty good pitch, almost a ball off. Then he bared down.”

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