Mariners 8, Reds 4

(Cincinnati, OH) Coming off an absolute gut punch of a loss on Tuesday night, the Seattle Mariners were set to conclude a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds. Trying to avoid being swept for just the third time this season, it was going to be interesting to see how the team responded from the painful loss on a late blown lead the night before. Thanks to a decent start from Logan Gilbert, the M’s were able to focus on just manufacturing runs and they did just that with multiple home runs. A quick get right game was what the doctor ordered and the Mariners delivered, avoiding the sweep with an 8-4 win over the Reds.

Of course we couldn’t have a game in this series that didn’t have a run scored in the 1st. A one out triple for TJ Friedl was the sixth triple of the season for the Reds outfielder and set them up to take the early lead. Spencer Steer would have the honor of driving in the first run of the finale with a base hit to left. Friedl could walk home as Cincinnati had the 1-0 lead.

Seattle would not find themselves trailing for too long. In the top of the 2nd, Lyon Stephenson was bit by what has caused him issues so far in his young career and that is walks and home runs. With one out, Ty France put together a ten pitch at bat that ended in a walk to wear down Stephenson a bit. Mike Ford would be able to capitalize after that with a fastball towards the top of the zone and Ford crushed it and stood in the batters box to admire his work. A 400-foot two-run home run was Ford’s 16th of the year and put the Mariners out in front 2-1.

There was a fun little moment that began in the bottom of the 2nd and carried over to the 3rd. Julio Rodriguez and Noelvi Marte came up through the Mariners minor league system together as two of the top prospects. Of course they became close even calling each other “brothers” throughout their development. Then, Marte was traded to Cincinnati in a deal last season to get Luis Castillo to Seattle. The friendship is still alive and well as Julio Rodriguez had a good laugh when he ran down a Marte line drive for the final out of the bottom of the 2nd as the two laughed as Julio jogged off the field. Then, leading off the top of the 3rd, Julio hit a tough grounder to Marte at third and he got a little payback on J-Rod by making a nice play to get Julio at first. The two shared a laugh about that in a great reminder that this is just a game and that everyone should be having fun with it just like we all did playing when we were kids.

The fun didn’t stop their for the M’s as the top of the 4th was undoubtedly more enjoyable. A leadoff single from a former Red that was honored before game one in Eugenio Suarez gave the Mariners some traffic on base early in the inning. Ty France would then let Suarez show off his “wheels” a little bit by yanking a grounder down the left field line and into the corner. Geno was able to score all the way from first without a throw on France’s 31st double of the year as the lead was up to 3-1. France advance to third on a groundout by Mike Ford and Josh Rojas worked his way on with a walk to put runners on the corners with one out. Seattle might have many different players to consider the heart and soul of the team, but for me it is J.P. Crawford and he came up with another big hit in this one. Crawford sent a high drive to right field that soared into the seats for his 15th home run of the season. The three-run shot made it 6-1, but the M’s still weren’t done in the inning. Two batters later, Cal Raleigh made it a five-run inning with his 26th of the season, putting him one short of his career high. The big five spot in the 4th had the Mariners feeling real good with a 7-1 advantage.

We learned on Tuesday that you can’t coast against these young Reds that are fighting for a playoff spot and they continued to fight in this one. In the bottom of the 5th, Will Benson continued to build a strong day with his 14th double of the season with one out. Jake Fraley followed with a single to left to put runners on the corners. TJ Friedl would get a fly ball deep enough to left to score Benson, but the Mariners were more than happy to trade a run for the second out. Gilbert would then strike out Spencer Steer to end the inning and minimize the damage as the M’s held a 7-2 lead.

More choppy waters were on the horizon in the bottom of the 6th. A leadoff walk for Elly De La Cruz turned into a double with his 26th stolen base to get himself in scoring position with one out after a Nick Martini strikeout. Christian Encarnacion-Strand kept haunting the Mariners in this series. The rookie ripped a line drive into left as De La Cruz tried to steal third. He was able to score easily on the single as Cincinnati continued to inch their way back into the game as it was 7-3. Tyler Stephenson singled to chase Logan Gilbert with just one out in the 6th and runners on first and second. Matt Brash came in and gave up a single to Noelvi Marte to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate with just one out. Brash left a curve well above the zone, but got Will Benson to chase it for strike three and a massive second out. A grounder off the bat of Jake Fraley was fielded by Dylan Moore at second and he flipped to J.P. Crawford to get out of the bases loaded jam with the Mariners still leading 7-3.

With the Reds clawing their way back into the game, Seattle had to add on to their shrinking lead. In the top of the 7th, Cal Raleigh singled and Teoscar Hernandez walked to put the first two men on first and second. Dominic Canzone hit a grounder to first and the Reds cut down Teo at second, but Canzone was able to beat out the throw back to first to avoid the double play. Eugenio Suarez would pop out which brought Ty France to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs. France would come up with the clutch knock as he sent a grounder back up the middle and into center field. Cal scored on Ty’s RBI single as the Mariners got one of those runs back with an 8-3 lead.

Andrés Muñoz entered in the bottom of the 9th in a non-save situation and after getting Noelvi Marte to groundout to begin the inning, let the Reds get a bit closer. A great backdoor slider came just back over the outside corner, but Will Benson was able to barrel it up. He sent a solo shot the other way into left center for his ninth home run of the season to make it 8-4. Muñoz never let another ball get put in play. A strikeout of Jake Fraley was followed by a walk to TJ Friedl. A 100-mph fastball flew by Spencer Steer’s bat for the final strike of the game as Muñoz put this one away as an 8-4 Mariner win.

Avoiding the sweep was massive for the Mariners (78-61) as they have a chance to salvage a .500 record on the road trip if they can take three out of four in Tampa Bay. Houston completed a sweep of the Rangers which means the M’s are still a game behind the Astros for the division lead, but they are now 2 games ahead of the Rangers in the Wild Card race with the Blue Jays also 1 1/2 behind Seattle after they lost to Oakland. The Mariners are 6 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays (85-55) for the top Wild Card spot as the teams meet for four games. In the opener, Luis Castillo (11-7, 3.19 ERA) will attempt to right the wrongs after his last start. Castillo gave up five runs on eight hits in just five innings of work with just two strikeouts. Tampa Bay will start Zack Littell (3-4, 4.69 ERA) in game one. Littell has allowed four runs in each of his last three starts against the Rockies, Yankees and Guardians. First pitch is scheduled for Thursday at 3:40pm.

Matt’s Takeaways

A chance to take the series and coming away just avoiding a sweep is not going to cut it if the Mariners want to take the division. The bullpen is a major cause for concern right now. Yes, Dominic Canzone and Josh Rojas have both played well since arriving in Seattle. But the bullpen has not exactly performed great. It is too early to call the Paul Sewald trade a win or a loss. But the bullpen is unquestionably worse with Sewald in Arizona. It could just be due to them being overworked. We haven’t exactly been getting a ton of 7+ inning starts from the rotation. This might need to be the time the offense and defense carries the pitching for once. If they can continue to score 6+ runs per game, things will eventually break in their favor. Taking three of four in Tampa and coming back to Seattle with a 5-5 road trip would not be ideal but at this point it would be a sigh of relief. Expect some stressful games this weekend.

Notable Performances


  • Cal Raleigh- 3-4, HR, RBI, 2 R, BB
  • Ty France- 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB
  • Logan Gilbert (W, 13-5)- 5.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO


  • Will Benson- 3-4, 2 2Bs, HR, RBI, 2 R, SB
  • TJ Friedl- 1-3, 3B, RBI, R, BB
  • Lyon Richardson (L, 0-2)- 4.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO



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