I would like to comment on some of my expressed hopes for this series. First, the Cincinnati Reds and their crowd did a great job of welcoming Geno Suarez and Luis Castillo back home. They even made a video with highlights. Second, I was looking forward to watching Elly De La Cruz but failed to stipulate that I did not want to see him in the ninth inning of the second game. He is impressive, however.
Games 1 and 2: Pitchers Batter the Hitters
Pitchers from both teams hit batters an unusual number of times. It was unlike our pitchers to do so, as they were last in baseball before this series in HBP. Cinci, meanwhile, currently ranks 85th with 68 compared to the Mariners current number of 43.
Game 1, September 4: SEA 3, CIN 6
The Reds got going in the first inning. TJ Friedl was hit by a pitch and got on base. When Elly De La Cruz singled, Friedl scored: SEA 0, CIN 1. A pitch also hit Nick Martini and he reached base. De La Cruz went to second. When Hunter Renfroe singled, De La Cruz scored: SEA 0, CIN 2.
The Reds continued to score in the second inning. A pitch hit Noelvi Marte. Then Jake Fraley walked, moving Marte to second. When Friedl hit a ground ball, Fraley was out but Marte moved to third. Spencer Steer then hit a three-run home run, bringing Marte and Friedl home with him: SEA 0, CIN 5.
The Mariners stirred in the fourth inning. Julio Rodriguez hit a solo home run: SEA 1, CIN 5. In the top of the fifth, Mike Ford hit a home run: SEA 2, CIN 5. In the top of the seventh, the bases were loaded but the Mariners could not convert this advantage into runs.
The Reds earned another run in the bottom of the seventh, Renfroe singled and Tyler Stephenson doubled, allowing Renfroe to score: SEA 2, CIN 6. In the top of the ninth, the Mariners earned an additional run. First, Ty France and then Cal Raleigh singled. J.P. Crawford also singled, allowing Ty France to score: SEA 3, CIN 6
Game 2, September 5th: SEA 6 CIN 7
This game taught me that a game against the Reds is not over UNTIL IT IS OVER.
From the first innings, this game seemed like it would be a win for the Mariners. In the first, Hernandez hit a two-run home run bringing Cal Raleigh home with him: SEA 2, CIN 0. In the bottom of the third, Luke Maile singled and then scored when Fraley hit a double: SEA 2, CIN 1.
In the fifth inning, both Josh Rojas and Crawford singled. Rodriguez hit a three-run home run: SEA 5, CIN 1. In the bottom of the sixth, Christian Encarnacion-Strand and then Marte homered: SEA 5, CIN 3. Rodriguez hit a second home run in the top of the seventh: SEA 6, CIN 3. In the top of the eighth, Rojas doubled, and Crawford walked. Unfortunately, both Rodriguez and Raleigh could not turn these into scores.
In the bottom of the eighth, Marte walked and Stephenson singled. Nick Martini thought this was a fine time to get his fourth home run of the season: SEA 6, CIN 6. In the top of the ninth, Hernandez was called out at second, but France was safe at first. (This involved a challenge and a review.) France’s pinch-runner, Dylan Moore, stole second. Then Mike Ford was hit by a pitch but was on first. Eugenio Suarez could not make the game-saving hit.
In the bottom of the ninth, Elly De La Cruz singled and then stole second base. When Encarnacion-Strand singled, De La Cruz scored: SEA 6, CIN 7. Cincinnati won this close game fair and square, but I became more cautiously optimistic in the third game.
Game 3, September 6: The Return of the Mariners: SEA 8, CIN 4
In the first two games, our players looked tired. Playing ten games in ten days in different cities sounds exhausting! For whatever reason, they looked energized for this last game of the series.
The Reds scored first. In the bottom of the first, Friedl tripled. When Spencer Steer singled, Friedl scored: SEA 0, CIN 1 In the top of the second, France walked and Mike Ford hit a two-run home run: SEA 2, CIN 1. In the top of the fourth, Suarez singled. When France doubled, Suarez scored: SEA 3, CIN 1. But there was more. With France still on base, Rojas walked. Then Crawford hit a three-run home run! The score was then SEA 6, CIN 1. And yet there is still more. Cal Raleigh homered: SEA 7, CIN 1.
In the bottom of the fifth, Benson, Fraley, and Friedl cooperated to send Benson home: SEA 7, CIN 2. After walking and stealing second base, De La Cruz scored on a single from Encarnacion-Strand: SEA 7, CIN 3. In the top of the seventh, the Mariners scored again when Raleigh singled, then went to second and on to third on a Dom Canzone groundball. When France singled, Raleigh scored: SEA 8, CIN 3.
In the bottom of the ninth, Will Benson homered: SEA 8, CIN 4.
Logan Gilbert had an outstanding day on the mound and then the bullpen supported his first five innings spectacularly.
Mariners are onward to Tampa!
I hope that the Florida sun continues to energize our players and that no big storms come to interfere with the game schedule. All the best, Mariners!