Mariners end Reds series on a positive note with 8-4 win

The Mariners score five runs in the fourth inning, which proves to be the difference in salvaging something from a tough series in Cincinnati.

It’s been a challenging road trip so far for the Mariners, with consecutive series losses versus the Mets and Reds. However, they were at least able to leave Cincinnati with something positive, after beating the Reds 8-4 in Wednesday’s finale.

The win also ended the Mariners’ three-game losing streak, to help them keep in touch of the AL West summit. As of Thursday morning they sit at 78-61, just one game back of the Astros for the division lead.

Wednesday’s game gave reason for early concern, as the Reds took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. However, the visitors responded an inning later through a Mike Ford two-run blast, for a 2-1 advantage.

The Mariners broke the game open during an impressive fourth inning, to put themselves in a commanding position. Ty France got things going with a RBI double, to make it 3-1.

Then it was the turn of J.P. Crawford, who blasted a three-run homer to increase the lead to 6-1. Crawford is having a career-year at the plate, as highlighted by 15 home runs and a .826 OPS.

The Mariners still weren’t finished, as Cal Raleigh hit a home run of his own to give a 7-1 advantage through four innings. The solo blast was part of a team-leading three-hit game for the catcher.

Gilbert comes through when needed most

The offensive domination was being complimented by a good showing on the mound from Logan Gilbert. It was also much-needed, after the pitching had allowed a combined 26 runs in the previous four games.

However, it wasn’t quite over just yet, as the Reds added a run in the fifth and another in the sixth, to climb to within 7-3. Thoughts turned to a night earlier, when the Mariners gave up a 5-1 lead and ultimately lost 7-6.

Gilbert was started to drop off and Mariners manager Scott Servais made the decision to take him out after 5.1 innings. His final stat line included seven hits, two walks and the aforementioned three earned runs.

Certainly there was more good than bad though. The righty produced an impressive 38 percent swing-and-miss rate, on the way to nine strikeouts.

Servais was appreciative of what Gilbert did, especially after all the recent issues with the pitching. Speaking postgame, he said:

“Hat’s off to Logan Gilbert. He went out and did exactly what we needed him to do. He just kind of calmed the game down and got into his (zone).”

For his part, the ultra-competitive Gilbert was low-key about his contribution. He said:

“Everybody looks like they’re swinging the bat really well. I’m just trying to do my part and keep (Cincinnati) at bay.”

The 26-year-old also discussed how much his splitter has contributed towards a season which has now seen him match his career-high of 13 wins. He said:

“Just like anything else, when I think fastball and try not to manipulate it too much, it comes out better. So that’s the main thing — basically just try to throw down the middle like a fastball, and let it fall off.”

Mariners bullpen atones for previous night

With Gilbert out, it was up to the recently maligned bullpen to step up. The nerves weren’t helped, when Matt Brash almost immediately faced a bases-loaded situation after allowing a single to the first batter he faced.

Fortunately for the Mariners, Brash was able to navigate his way through the situation unscathed. He got the necessary two outs and the visitors were 7-3 up through six innings.

France put some more distance between the Mariners and the Reds, with his second RBI in the seventh to make it 8-3. After this the bullpen maintained its poise, save for Andrés Muñoz allowing a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth, to provide the final scoreline of 8-4.

Servais was understandably happy to get the win. He said:

“It’s been nice to see the offense really rolling the last couple of nights. We’re doing the things we need to do offensively.”

Glad to leave Great American Ball Park

In addition, Servais is just relieved to see the back of Cincinnati’s ballpark after a taxing three games. He said:

“You’re never comfortable here. That’s how I felt tonight. I know it’s how the whole staff felt. … We’re ready to get out of Cincinnati.”

Not that it’s going to get any easier, with the Mariners beginning a four-game series versus the Rays on Thursday. The Rays are firmly entrenched in the top AL Wild Card spot, while still retaining hope of catching the Orioles for the best record in the league.

If nothing else, at least the Mariners will begin the series in Tampa Bay with their top two pitchers. Luis Castillo will get the start in the opener, with George Kirby taking the mound on Friday evening.


Other Notes

The game was also notable for Teoscar Hernández extending his hitting streak to 15 games. This matches his career-high, which he set during 2020 with the Blue Jays.

Julio Rodríguez had a tough night, going 0-for-5 at the plate. As a result, he now trails Marcus Semien 160-159 for the most hits in the AL.

Raleigh’s 26th home run now has him just one behind his career-high from last year. He is also on course to lead all catchers in this category for a second consecutive season.

What’s your prediction for the crucial four-game series in Tampa Bay? How many will the Mariners win versus the Rays? Let us know in the comments section below.

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