Leonys Martin has four hits and Robinson Cano drives in two runs to help the Mariners rally for a 5-4 victory and a sweep of the Reds. Seattle went 5-1 on its six-game trip and is an MLB-best 18-7 on the road this season.
CINCINNATI — If only the road went on forever for the Mariners, because the winning never seems to end there.
The best road team in baseball continued its dominance in venues other than Safeco Field. Seattle completed a relatively easy three-game sweep of the Reds on Sunday afternoon with a business-like 5-4 win at Great American Ball Park.
The Mariners improved to 26-17 this season with an 18-7 road record — the best in Major League Baseball. After being swept in a three-game series at home by the Angels, Seattle went 5-1 on the six-game trip to Baltimore and Cincinnati. It was the third time the Mariners have swept the Reds since 2002 and they are 13-2 against Cincinnati.
Athletics @ Mariners, 7:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
“It was a really nice road trip for us, coming off a rough series at home, bouncing right back and getting after it on the road,” manager Scott Servais said. “It was great to see.”
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But if the Mariners want to turn their postseason hopes into reality, they will have to find a way to play better at home, where they have an 8-10 record and average almost 1.5 runs less per game on offense and give up almost one more run per game.
They open an eight-game, nine-day homestand on Monday with a three-game series against the Athletics.
“We are looking forward to coming back home and get in front of our own fans again,” Servais said. “I know we’ll have a good turnout there. Everyone is excited to get home.”
Sunday’s win wasn’t quite as easy as the first two against a spiraling Reds team that has lost seven in a row.
Mariners starter Wade Miley picked up the win to improve to 5-2 despite a forgettable first inning. He gave up a double to Zack Cozart, hit Billy Hamilton with a pitch and gave up a single to Joey Votto to load the bases. Brandon Phillips followed with a double into right-center to score two runs. Miley’s first out came on Jay Bruce’s deep sacrifice fly to center. He was able to retire the next two batters to keep it at 3-0.
“I was just having a hard time making pitches,” Miley said. “It just kind of got out of hand. I was just trying to keep it close and with our offense, the odds are pretty good in your favor if you do that.”
Miley had seen his teammates roll up runs in a hurry on the road all season. And they answered two innings later, trimming the lead to one run. Miley even helped his cause with a leadoff single to left field off Reds starter Alfredo Simon that might have been a double for most people on the team, including Dae-Ho Lee.
“Station to station,” Miley said with a laugh. “It should have been a foul ball I was so late on it.”
Miley would later score on a broken-ba,t run-scoring single from Robinson Cano. Nelson Cruz added a fielder’s choice RBI that plated Norichika Aoki to cut the lead to 3-2.
The only other blemish on Miley’s start came in the bottom of the fourth when he gave up a leadoff solo homer to Adam Duvall to make it 4-2.
But the Mariners took the lead for good an inning later. Leonys Martin’s drag bunt attempt that was originally ruled an out was overturned on replay review for a single.
“I knew I was safe,” he said.
Aoki followed with a single, moving Martin to third. Cano notched his 39th RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to center. After Cruz worked a walk, Kyle Seager dumped a single into center field to score Aoki. With runners on second and third, Simon intentionally walked Adam Lind to load the bases for a possible double play.
But Steve Clevenger lined a single to left that scored Cano. Seager was thrown out at home trying to score on the play. But the Mariners had a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“He’d given some good pitches to hit and I was missing them,” Clevenger said. “But I just relaxed more. He left a split up in the zone and I didn’t try do too much with it.”
Given a lead, Miley didn’t allow another run, working around base runners each of the next two innings.
He was done after six having allowed the four runs on eight hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Servais handed the ball over to the bullpen and couldn’t ask for better results — 1-2-3 innings each from Nick Vincent, Joaquin Benoit and closer Steve Cishek, who picked up his 12th save of the season.
“That was really nice,” Servais said. “It’s nice to have Benoit back. His fastball was very lively and he went right after them.”
The Mariners bullpen is 7-0 with nine saves and a 1.47 ERA on the road this season.
Cishek had pitched just once on the trip, in mop-up time in Baltimore. He hadn’t pitched in a save situation since blowing the save in the middle game of the Angels’ sweep.
“I was waiting for the opportunity in Baltimore but our offense was too good,” he said. “I was just waiting for another chance. I felt fresh. If anything, I had to dial back the fastball. I felt really good.”