LF Franklin Gutierrez crushed a 473-foot home run to the upper deck in left, Felix Hernandez twice worked out of bases-loaded snafus, and the Mariners (25-17) won their third consecutive game with a 4-0 whitewash of the Cincinnati Reds Saturday at Great American Ballpark (box). The win was the fourth in five games on its six-game road swing. Seattle maintained a 1.5-game edge over the Texas Rangers for first place in the AL West.
CF Leonys Martin hit a solo homer in the second, staking Seattle to a 1-0 lead. In the fourth, Gutierrez came up after RF Nelson Cruz and 1B Dae-Ho Lee singled and jacked a John Lamb fastball for the second-longest homer in the majors this season. Only a 475-foot shot by Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton against Philadelphia May 6 exceeded Gutierrez’s 473-footer.
The Gutierrez homer gave Hernandez (4-3, 2.21), who yielded only four singles, all the cushion he needed as the Mariners captured their fourth victory by shutout.
After retiring the first eight hitters he faced, Hernandez faltered, loading the bases with two outs in the third. But he dodged damage when he induced Joey Votto to hit a liner back to the mound for the third out. In the fifth, Hernandez found himself in a similar hole when, with two outs, he walked Lamb. After Billy Hamilton singled and Tyler Holt walked to load the sacks, Votto came up again and Hernandez forced him to ground out to first.
SS Ketel Marte left the game in the fifth inning after swiping a pair of bases and was replaced by Shawn O’Malley. Marte suffered a sprained left thumb while stealing second and will, according to manager Scott Servais, miss at least a “few days” . . . Martin hit his eighth homer in second inning, his second in three days . . . Gutierrez added a single to go with his second homer of the year . . . Seattle had only six hits off four Cincinnati pitchers and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, while stranding nine. The three-run by Gutierrez homer negated all the negatives . . . Cincinnati has allowed 75 home runs in 43 games, most in the majors.
Hernandez threw 104 pitches through six innings, allowing four hits with five strikeouts and three walks. He improved to 2-0 all-time against Cincinnati (also defeated the Reds June 19, 2010 at Safeco Field) and is 9-0 in his past 10 interleague road starts . . . Vidal Nuno, Mike Montgomery and Joel Peralta each threw one inning of scoreless relief without allowing a hit.
“I got into a good hitter’s count. When I hit it, I couldn’t feel anything in my bat. I didn’t know how far it was. But it was pretty good. I think that was the farthest ball I’ve ever hit in my whole career” — Gutierrez, after his homer off Lamb
“It’s not situations you like to get into, but Felix made the pitches and dialed it up when he needed to. — Servais after Hernandez twice escaped bases-loaded situations
“It’s cautiously optimistic that he won’t be out too long, But he’ll be out a few days” — Servais on Marte
The Mariners are 20-9 in past 29 games and 17-7, the AL best, on the road . . . The Mariners are 12-2 all-time vs. Cincinnati . . . Seattle is 10-3-1 in overall series this season . . . Seattle notched four shutouts, including two on this road trip (10-0 over Baltimore Tuesday) . . . Major League Baseball Saturday handed down lengthy suspensions to four minor league players after they tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Among the four: Seattle RHP Jose Luis Santiago, who was suspended without pay for 76 games. The 22-year-old Santiago was scheduled to pitch for Class A Everett of the Northwest League this season. The Mariners signed Santiago in 2013 as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic.
The interleague series Sunday concludes with a first pitch at 10:10 a.m., PT. LHP Wade Miley (4-2, 4.32) will throw for Seattle opposite RHP Alfredo Simon (1-4, 10.34). Simon gave up 10 runs and 14 hits in 4.1 innings in a 13-1 loss in Cleveland Tuesday. The Mariners return to Safeco Field Monday night to begin a three-game series with AL West rival Oakland.