M’s Win Finale in Cincy, But Lose Second Straight Series Away from Home

After falling in a series for the first time since mid-August to the New York Mets, the road trip continued on. Directly following three in the Big Apple, Seattle traveled to Cincinnati to face off against the Reds. Cincy features many former Mariners, and vise versa: former top-prospect Noelvi Marte, Jake Fraley, Justin Dunn all on the Reds, and All-Star Luis Castillo and Eugenio Suarez now call Seattle home.

The Reds, who haven’t been relevant for some time now over the past few seasons, showed that they are legit, and full of raw, talented young ball players. Following the three-gamer at  Great American Ballpark, the Reds sit just a half game back in the National League Wild Card race. On the other hand, our M’s have fallen out of first place in the American League West, but still lead Texas in the division and in the Wild Card.

Miss any of the three afternoon games this series while at work? Well, I got you!

Game one, and Cincy came out hot, despite their ball club being riddled by injuries and COVID. They put up five over the first two innings on rookie Bryan Woo’s head. It was future-superstar Elly De La Cruz and recently acquired Hunter Renfroe who had RBI singles in the first. Spencer Steer, an inning later, cranked a two-out, thee-run home run off of Woo.

Seattle Mariners v Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds came out of the gate hot, and Spencer Steer was one of the main reasons. Here's him touching home after a three-run home run in the first inning Monday night.Foto: Dylan Buell / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Julio stayed on his blazing streak, giving a bit of life to his team in the fourth on HR #25 of the season. In the fifth, it was big Mike Ford who kept adding to his career-high of 15 on his solo blast. Their was a glimmer of hope, but that was about it.

Bryan Woo’s start, after blanking the Oakland Athletics his last time out, was done after five innings. He hit three batters and gave up those five runs early in the game.

Seattle batters struck out a combined 11 times Monday night, and couldn’t get that big hit, despite leaving eight out to dry on the basepaths. Woo and company dropped the opener by a score of 6-3.

Looking to avoid losing three straight for the first time in what has been quite some time, it was a matchup of two rookies Tuesday. Bryce Miller for the Mariners, and Connor Phillips, who was the PTBNL in the M’s-Reds trade prior to the 2022 season involving Geno and Jesse Winker. Tuesday was Phillips’ MLB debut.

Seattle jumped on Phillips early, thanks to Teoscar Hernandez’s two-run blast in the first. His 25th homer of the year made the Mariners the first American League team with 3+ players with 25+ home runs this season, (Julio Rodriguez, Teoscar Hernandez, Cal Raleigh).

Old-friend Jake Fraley got the Reds on the board with an RBI double off of Miller in the third.

The 2-1 M’s lead heading into the fifth was extended, thanks to the August American League Player-of-the-Month, Julio Rodriguez. His second home run in as many games put the M’s up four on an opposite-field, three-run dinger.

Bryce Miller flirted with danger throughout his entire five-inning start, but somehow only gave up just one earned run on seven hits, (he also pegged three batters). Dominic Leone came in to relieve Miller of his duties and was instantly pieced up by two Cincinnati rookies: Christian Encarnacion-Strand, followed by Noelvi Marte, (first-career MLB HR) who both hit solo home runs. The lead for Seattle was back to two after six innings.

Then it was that guy again. J-Rod, making his case early in September for back-to-back AL Player-of-the-Months, hit his second oppo taco of the night. It was his 27th of the season, just one shy of tying his rookie season tally.

Now a 6-3 ballgame, and in the bottom of the eighth, Scott Servais chose trusty Justin Topa out of the ‘pen to get this one to the ninth. Topa issued a walk to Marte, gave up a single to Tyler Stephenson and then the Reds turned to their bench, calling on Nick Martini to pinch hit with one down. He did none other than tie this one up, belting a well-placed slider on the outside half into the seats. It was his fourth homer of the season, and the momentum shifted Cincy’s way just like that.

Seattle Mariners v Cincinnati Reds

Nick Martini's pinch-hit, three-run home run Tuesday was as momentum-shifting as momentum-shifting gets. Took the wind instantly out of Seattle's sails, as Cincinnati went on to win Tuesday night.Foto: Dylan Buell / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Seattle couldn’t push a run across in the top half of the ninth. Struggling Eugenio Suarez, back in a place he called home for seven seasons, swung at a 3-0 pitch, and flew out to end the inning despite two runners on base.

Cincinnati’s De La Cruz’s speed is like no other. In the bottom of the ninth, he got on via a dribbler infield single, stole second, and then scored the winning run on Encarnacion-Strand’s third hit of the night. This loss stung more than most this season, as Seattle fell for the third-straight game, and out of first place in the West.

Looking to salvage the finale, Logan Gilbert took the mound for the M’s Wednesday.

After the Red’s struck first in the first with one, Seattle quickly responded. Big Mike ford, for the second time in the series, put one beyond the right field fence. It was a two-run shot and after Logan got out of the bottom half, the score was 2-1 after two complete.

Fast forward to the top of the fourth and after an RBI double by Ty France, J.P. Crawford stood tall in the left-handed batter’s box with one down. Driveline down in Kent has worked some wonders on the Mariners’ shortstop’s power. He blasted his 15th homer of the season off of Reds’ starter Lyon Richardson. Cal Raleigh also put one out on a blistering line drive HR, and Seattle was now up 7-1.

Seattle Mariners v Cincinnati Reds

Look at where J.P. Crawford made contact with this baseball. He continues to deliver in the leadoff role, featuring some power at the plate this season. Here's his HR Wednesday, lengthening the lead for Seattle in the series finale.Foto: Dylan Buell / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Cincinnati scored one in the fifth, followed by one in the sixth, ending Logan’s day on the bump. He finished after 5 1/3 innings, striking out nine. His exit was a bit dicey, leaving two on for Matt Brash to get out of the bottom of the sixth. After Brash allowed a single to load the bases, he proceeded to strike out Will Benson and get Fraley to ground out to second, ending the frame.

Ty France drove in his second RBI of the game on a single up the gut in the top of the seventh inning. Andres Munoz gave up a solo home run in the final inning, but the M’s were able to take down the Reds in the finale. Final from Great American Ballpark Wednesday: SEA 8, CIN 4.

It’s a trip down to “The Trop” to finish the roadie. Seattle will be in St. Petersburg to face off against the Tampa Bay Rays for four games beginning Thursday. Tampa started the year off on a blistering pace and would be in first in the East if it weren’t for the Baltimore Orioles. The Rays, who have a team BA of .259 (8th) and team ERA of 3.82 (4th), have a commanding lead for the top spot in the AL Wild Card race. Despite losing their star shortstop Wander Franco to off-field troubles and All-Star LHP Shane McClanahan for the remainder of the season (UCL), Tampa’s 2023 success hasn’t faded.

It’ll be a tough four games before heading back to the PNW. Here’s the projected starting pitching matchups for SEA @ TBR:

  • Thursday, 9/7 @ 3:40 PM PT: RHP Luis Castillo (11-7, 3.19 ERA) vs. RHP Zack Littell (3-4, 4.69 ERA)
  • Friday, 9/8 @ 3:40 PM PT: RHP George Kirby (10-9, 3.39 ERA) vs. RHP Taj Bradley (5-7, 5.42 ERA)
  • Saturday, 9/9 @ 1:05 PM PT: TBD vs. RHP Aaron Civale (7-3, 2.76 ERA)
  • Sunday, 9/10 @ 10:10 AM PT: TBD vs. Zach Eflin (13-8, 3.47 ERA)

American League West standings as of Thursday morning:

  • 1.Houston Astros (80-61)
  • 2.Seattle Mariners (78-61), 1.0 GB, +1.5 WCGB
  • 3.Texas Rangers (76-63), 3.0 GB, 0.5 WCGB
  • 4.Los Angeles Angels (64-76), 1-9 in L10
  • 5.Oakland Athletics (43-97), 34.0 GB, E

Want more in-depth M’s info, and don’t want to read?? I am with you, (even though you read this entire article). Listen to the “Talkin’ Ners with Rory and Ders” podcast to get all the good stuff about your favorite baseball team here in Seattle! New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday. Available anywhere you listen to podcasts:

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