July 7, 2013 at 9:57 AM
Game thread, Mariners vs. Reds, July 7: Mariners win, 3-1
Wilhelmsen didn’t take long to nail down his 18th save. Five pitches, to be exact. M’s win both series on this road trip, and earn first Sunday road win of the year after six losses. Great outing for Saunders, with homers by Franklin and Smoak providing all of the Mariners’ runs.
REDS EIGHTH: Furbush retires the Reds in order. The Mariners will now get the pleasure of facing Aroldis Chapman in 9th, leading 3-1.
REDS SEVENTH: Reds finally break through against Saunders on back-to-back doubles with one out by Frazier and Heisey, but gets out of it with no further damage. This is seventh time in last eight starts Saunders has worked into seventh inning. 3-1 Mariners
MARINERS SEVENTH: Mariners get Ackley to second with one out but Miller and Franklin strike out against reliever Alfredo Simon. 3-0 Mariners
MARINERS SIXTH: M’s offense has slowed down. Since Smoak’s homer in third, they have just one hit, but still lead 3-0.
REDS FIFTH: A double by Chris Heisey with one out ended a string of 11 in a row retired by Saunders. With two outs, Saunders’ throw on an Arroyo bunt pulled Smoak off first for an error. But with first and third, he got Choo on a comebacker to end the threat. 3-0 Mariners.
REDS FOURTH: Since a shaky first, Saunders is rolling. He’s retired 10 in a row. 3-0 Mariners
MARINERS THIRD: More longball for the M’s, this time a two-run, two-out opposite-field homer by Justin Smoak off Arroyo for a 3-0 Seattle lead.
REDS SECOND: Saunders breezes through a 1-2-3 inning.
MARINERS SECOND: The M’s get a gift when Arroyo bobbles Zunino’s slow roller for an error to start the second but do nothing with it. 1-0 Mariners
REDS FIRST: Saunders gives up three hits but no runs thanks to a double play. The Reds stranded two. 1-0 Mariners
MARINERS FIRST: Nick Franklin returns to the lineup with a bang — a solo homer to right center on a 1-2 pitch off Bronson Arroyo. The Mariners have now homered in 15 straight games, including three in a row in the first inning. Seager and Ibanez followed with singles, but Smoak struck out and Chavez lined out to center. So M’s start off with two more LOBs and two more K’s, but lead 1-0.
The Mariners still have a shot at a pretty good road trip if they win this finale. It would give them series wins over the Rangers and Reds, two playoff teams. The Mariners haven’t won back-to-back road series all year.
One area in which they need improvement — always — is hitting with runners in scoring position. They are just 2 for their last 28.