M’s Sweep Away Cincy for First Series Win of Season

Following yet another series loss, Seattle’s fourth in a row, the Cincinnati Reds made their one and only appearance in the PNW this season, and their first since 2019.

Prior to facing the Reds beginning on Jackie Robinson Day, the M’s had yet to win a series this season. And after the way the Cubs series ended with Julio Rodriguez getting picked off as a pinch runner on Sunday, the vibes were lower than low gets, especially after outfielder Dominic Canzone landed on the ten-day shelf with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder after making a phenomenal wall-crashing catch.

Notes on Canzone’s injury indicate that he’ll be out more than the ten-day minimum break. Head Coach Scott Servais mentioned that, “… It’s a couple of weeks at least”.

Maybe 21-year-old Jonatan Clase, Seattle’s tenth-ranked prospect, could help spark the team with Canzone out? Through just 12 games in Triple-A Tacoma, the speedy Clase had an OPS above 1.000, with eight extra-base hits and 11 runs batted in.

Well with a record of 6-10, the M’s had wished for a better start on all sides of the baseball. No better time than now to get on track…

A cold, lifeless T-Mobile Park played host to the 77th annual Jackie Robinson Day on Monday night. With the game set to start at 6:42 PM, it was young right-hander George Kirby – looking for his second victory of the season, against former-Oakland Athletic, Frankie Montas.

Despite the chilly conditions, Seattle got off to a hot start, shockingly. They also got some help from Montas, who was horrific in not only the first, but throughout his short start. Frankie walked the first two M’s to kick off the night, and then Jorge Polanco made him pay. A lower-half fastball was punished 110 MPH off Polanco’s stick for a line-drive, three-run homer to right. 3-0 was the score before an out had been recorded. Montas went on to walk two more in the inning, but Seattle couldn’t capitalize anymore.

Cincinnati Reds v Seattle Mariners

Second baseman Jorge Polanco cashed in for three runs on a first inning home run Monday night, honoring the great Jackie Robinson with the #42 on his back.Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Cincinnati’s Jeimer Candelario torched a solo home run off of Kirby in the top of the second inning.

Fast forwarding to bottom three, and it was Seattle’s hottest hitter at the dish, following a walk drawn by Polanco. On the second pitch of the AB, Mitch Haniger smoked his third home run of the season just over the wall, and into Seattle’s bullpen – lengthening the Seattle lead to 5-1.

George rebounded from his past two crappy starts as he completed six full innings, striking out six, allowing two earned runs on five hits. Gabe Speier, Tyson Miller, and Tayler Saucedo followed Kirby in the opener out of the M’s bullpen, collectively allowing one run over three innings.

In his debut, Clase picked up his first hit and RBI in the bigs on a single through the six-hole. Seattle expanded their lead in the seventh on an RBI double by Haniger, Ty France sacrifice fly and a Luke Raley RBI triple. It was the most runs the team had scored in a game since facing the Kansas City Royals later last season. Saucedo struck out the side to end it, a final of 9-3.

Aiming for their first series win of ’24, the thin man, Logan Gilbert, toed the slab against hard-throwing Hunter Greene Tuesday night.

It was a strikeout fest on both sides early on. Gilbert struck out the side to begin the ballgame. Greene followed with six of his own in the bottom half of the first, second and third collectively.

Bottom four, and Seattle had life. It was Clase again, in his second career MLB game. Mitch Garver was hit by a Greene slider, and Clase, two batters later, sent one into the right center gap. Though the throw beat Garver home, his slide kicked the ball out of Luke Maile’s mitt and Clase picked up RBI #2 of his young career and the M’s gained the lead by one.

The Reds tied it up a half inning later thanks to two singles and an RBI ground out/fielder’s choice.

And then Seattle retook the lead in bottom five, thanks to a bases-loaded walk issued to Garver by ex-Mariner Emilio Pagan. The Mariners added an insurance run in the seventh on a Mitch Haniger single up-the-gut that scored J.P. Crawford – which was Seattle’s first time cashing in with RISP on the night.

Gilbert was rolling Tuesday. With Cincinnati up-to-bat in the top of the seventh, Julio made a miraculous running and leaping grab to rob Spencer Steer of extra bases. After walking ex-Mariner Jake Fraley a batter later, Logan’s day had concluded. One out away from seven complete, Gilbert struck out six, giving up just three hits and one earned run. Andres Munoz came in to relieve Gilbert of his duties.

He instantly walked Elly De La Cruz, and then was again saved by Julio out in center. Nick Martini laced a base hit to Rodriguez, and with Fraley rounding third and heading home, the thought was to nab EDLC at third instead – which is an almost impossible task considering his ++ speed, but the two-time Silver Slugger did it, preventing the run and ending the inning. All Logan Gilbert could do, along with a majority of the 17k in attendance, was applaud Julio’s seventh inning web gems in his “No-Fly-Zone”.

Cincinnati Reds v Seattle Mariners

Though a cold start offensively, Julio Rodriguez seems to never not have a smile on his face. The two pictured here, including Cincinnati's Elly De La Cruz, are two of the biggest and brightest young names in the sport. Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Andres made quick work of the Reds in the eighth, striking out the side in order.

Ryne Stanek came in for the save in the ninth – but made it more than interesting. He allowed two walks, and a Ty France error at first loaded the bases with two down. Servais turned to the lefty Saucedo to get that final out Tuesday. Cincinnati countered with pinch hitter Tyler Stephenson, but ultimately the battle was won by Tahoma High School’s own, who got Stephenson to fly out to J-Rod in center to end it. 3-1 was the final, resulting in Seattle’s first series win of the season… and it was about damn time.

Get-away day Wednesday was sun-soaked and windy for Bryce Miller vs. lefty Andrew Abbott on the bump.

For the first time in the series, Cincy struck first. It was only a matter of time until Elly De La Cruz made his presence known. He pulled his fifth home run of the season over the fence in right center to give the Reds a 1-0 lead.

But in the following half inning, it was time for a dump. Cal Raleigh, from the right side, knotted it up at one with a solo shot into Edgar’s Cantina – his third blast of the year, and the second from his less-powerful side.

Bryce Miller, outside of the solo shot he gave up to EDLC, carved up Cincinnati on Wednesday. Just the ONE hit, one walk, and seven punch-outs, lowering his ERA to 1.85 on the season.

Cincinnati Reds v Seattle Mariners

Texas-native Bryce Miller has shown he lives up to the potential. Another dominant start Wednesday, as he allowed just two base runners over six innings. Guy's got some serious lettuce as well.Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Seattle’s full-time DH pick up on Christmas Eve, Mitch Garver, has been nothing but awful so far. He finally did a thing Wednesday. With the game tied at one, he mashed his first home run (solo) of the season to give Seattle the lead in the home sixth.

After Abbott was bounced, the first pitch that pinch hitter Josh Rojas saw from Cincy reliever Lucas Sims was cranked into the right field seats. It’s nice to see both him and Garver get their first dingers of the year. This made it a 3-1 advantage for the M’s, but they weren’t done in the inning…

Mitch Haniger, after Jonatan Clase walked and stole second, extended his hit streak to eight games: an RBI single where Clase appeared to have reached 30 MPH rounding the bases and scoring Seattle’s fourth run. The inning continued as Sims couldn’t locate pitches and walked in another run.

Seattle’s bullpen was magnificent following yet another Bryce Miller strong start. Trent Thornton, Gabe Speier and Austin Voth held the Reds to the one run, and Seattle took the finale by a score of 5-1.

Following their first won series of 2024, the M’s head to the mile-high city to take on the last-place Colorado Rockies. A team last year that was almost bottom third in almost all stats, ranking dead last in ERA and pitcher strikeouts, the Rockies have again started slow this season. Also on Wednesday, Rockies’ 3B Kris Bryant was placed on the ten-day shelf with a back strain.

Pitching probables for SEA @ COL:

  • Friday April 19th, 5:40 PM PT: RHP Emerson Hancock (1-2, 7.98 ERA) vs. RHP Dakota Hudson (0-3, 4.15 ERA)
  • Saturday April 20th, 5:10 PM PT: RHP Luis Castillo (0-4, 5.82 ERA) vs. LHP Kyle Freeland (0-3, 13.21 ERA)
  • Sunday April 21st, 12:10 PM PT: RHP George Kirby (2-2, 6.64 ERA) vs. RHP Cal Quantrill (0-2, 5.57 ERA)

American League West standings as of 4/17:

  1. Texas Rangers (10-9)
  2. Seattle Mariners (9-10), 1.0 GB
  3. Los Angeles Angels (8-9), 1.0 GB
  4. Oakland Athletics (8-11), 2.0 GB
  5. Houston Astros (6-14), 4.5 GB

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