CINCINNATI -- By way of the home run and behind Felix Hernandez, the Mariners clinched a series win against the Reds on Saturday with a 4-0 victory at Great American Ball Park, Seattle's second straight series win and fourth win in five games. Cincinnati has lost six straight and nine of its last 10.
The Mariners opened the scoring in the second inning with a two-out solo home run by Leonys Martin. Franklin Gutierrez followed him two innings later with a three-run shot into the upper deck in left field that gave Seattle a 4-0 lead. Reds starter John Lamb settled down after that, completing six innings without allowing another run. He finished with four runs allowed (three earned) on six hits, three walks and three strikeouts.
"It was competitive," Reds' manager Bryan Price said. "I think a lot of times with young pitchers you have to look at what they do after some of the damage is done. Do they rebound? Do they go into a shell and lose faith? How do they compete in the aftermath? And he did a nice job."
Hernandez held the Reds scoreless over six innings, although the Reds were able to threaten him with two bases-loaded, two-out situations in the third and fifth innings. Hernandez finished with four hits allowed, three walks and five strikeouts.
The win was the 20th for Hernandez in Interleague play. He is the 15th pitcher to achieve 20 wins since the American and National League began playing each other in the regular season in 1997.
"I thought Felix's stuff today was very good. I thought last time it was, as well," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "Good outing. I do know that those innings ate into his pitch count, so we shut it down after six."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bombs away: Gutierrez unleashed a towering 473-foot, three-run home run -- the second-longest home run in the Majors League this season according to Statcast™ -- in the fourth to give the Mariners a four-run cushion, which turned out to be more than enough for Hernandez and the bullpen. It was Gutierrez's second home run of the season. He entered the game hitting .176 but had his first multi-hit game of the year, adding a single in the sixth.
"Yes, I think that's the sweet spot. You cannot hit a ball better than that," said Gutierrez.
Votto leaves them loaded: In the third inning and then again in the fifth, Joey Votto was presented with opportunities to put some runs on the board with the bases loaded. In the third, he lined out to Hernandez, and in the fifth, he grounded out to first baseman Dae-Ho Lee. Votto had a hit and two RBIs in his only previous bases-loaded plate appearance this season.
"You'd love to have runners on early," Price said. "I think it makes a lot of difference, from an offensive standpoint, to be able to have multiple runners on with less than two outs, be able to have a couple of different guys go up there and take a shot."
Marte injured: Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte left the game after stealing two bases in the fifth inning with a sprained left thumb. Shawn O'Malley replaced Marte in the lineup. Marte singled to lead off the fifth, giving him a hit in 21 of his last 28 games.
Marte fractured the same thumb last year while playing at Triple-A Tacoma and feared he had broken it again. Servais said after the game that Marte will definitely miss a few games but that no decision on a possible trip to the DL had been made. That move, however, could be made quickly as Servais said he does not like the idea of playing shorthanded on the bench for an extended period of time.
Bullpen's scoreless outing: After allowing 16 runs over its past three games, the Reds' bullpen did not allow a run in three innings behind Lamb, marking the first time since May 13 that the bullpen was scoreless. After the game, the Reds designated Steve Delabar for assignment and optioned Jumbo Diaz and Keyvius Sampson to Triple-A Louisville. Delabar and Diaz both pitched Saturday, going a combined two innings, walking three and striking out one.
"Now I know how it feels to get drilled by [Aroldis] Chapman on his best day or Nolan Ryan or some of those old timers that you hear threw pretty damn hard. It's stung, it stung. I'm fine. I don't see it affecting anything moving forward." -- Lamb, on taking a line drive off the bat of Nelson Cruz
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In the third inning, Lamb chopped a ball off the dirt in front of home plate that rolled slow enough between Fernandez and catcher Chris Ianetta to give him the infield single. Before that hit, Reds' pitchers other than Brandon Finnegan were a combined 0-for-51 at the plate.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners:Wade Miley takes the mound Sunday, as the Mariners look to close out their six-game road trip 5-1 with a sweep of the Reds in a 10:10 a.m. PT start. Miley began the season 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in his first three starts, but he is 4-0 over his last five starts, allowing 10 earned runs over 34 1/3 innings for a 2.62 ERA.
Home team: The Reds send struggling starter Alfredo Simon (1-4, 10.34 ERA) to the mound in the series finale Sunday against the Mariners. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 ET.