Seattle Mariners' pitcher Felix Hernandez. Photo by Jim Bryant/UPI | License Photo
CINCINNATI -- It's something Franklin Gutierrez said he's never experienced at the major league level and only once before in his professional career, where the impact of the bat striking the baseball simply isn't felt.
"When you don't feel anything in the bat," Gutierrez said. "Yes, that's the sweet spot. I just watch the ball travel. You can't hit it any better."
Gutierrez hit a three-run home run an estimated 473 feet and Felix Hernandez allowed four hits in six innings lifting the Seattle Mariners to a 4-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
Leonys Martin added a solo shot for Seattle (25-17) which improved to 12-2 all-time against Cincinnati (15-28).
The Reds dropped to 0-6 in interleague play this season coming off four straight losses to Cleveland earlier this week.
Martin also had two walks on Saturday, showing uncharacteristic patience batting eighth ahead of the pitcher in a National League ballpark.
"I had to be smart hitting with the pitcher behind me," Martin said. "I'm just trying to hit the ball hard. Go to home plate and be aggressive."
Reds starter John Lamb labored in the first inning on Saturday, tossing 25 pitches and going to a full count on three batters, but the Mariners stranded runners on the corners.
Lamb retired the first two batters in the second before Martin crushed his 0-1 pitch into the visitor's bullpen in right field to put Seattle ahead 1-0. It was Martin's eighth homer this season.
Hernandez (4-3) retired the first eight batters he faced before Lamb reached on an infield single in the third. The Reds loaded the bases, but Hernandez snared Joey Votto's liner for the final out.
"Felix's stuff again today was really good," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "Crispness of the fast(ball). Lot of life. He dialed it up like we know he can, when he needed to. That's what sets him apart from a lot of other guys."
That missed scoring opportunity came back to haunt Cincinnati when Gutierrez hit his second home run of the season, a mammoth three-run shot into the left field bleachers to make the score 4-0. It was Gutierrez's first homer since May 10.
It was the second-longest homer in the majors so far this season, according to Statcast. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton hit a 475-foot shot on May 6.
When a highlight of his home run was shown on the Mariners clubhouse television following the game, one teammate reacted with "Oh my God!".
"That's a bomb," said Servais. "He needed that. It was well-timed as well. It's about all we got today (offensively)."
Lamb (0-2) was charged with three earned runs in six innings. He walked three and fanned three while needing 111 pitches to get through six.
"It was frustrating giving up that ball you want to get back," said Lamb, of the two homers he allowed. "I wanted to keep us in the game. I didn't cut it."
Cincinnati missed another scoring chance against Hernandez in the fifth with Votto at the plate. This time Hernandez got the Reds' first baseman to ground out ending the inning.
"Two outs," lamented Reds manager Bryan Price. "We got a couple of rallies started with two outs and Lamb hitting. I would love to have seen runners on base earlier. It didn't work out today. We didn't put too much pressure on them from an offensive standpoint."
Hernandez hadn't faced the Reds since June 19, 2010 when he tossed a complete game allowing a run with nine strikeouts. He fanned five on Saturday while walking three.
"I threw a lot of pitches," Hernandez said. "I had a good fastball. My body feels good. I think my fastball is coming back. I had better command."
Cincinnati was shutout for the third time this season, which includes being no-hit by the Cubs' Jake Arrieta.
The struggling Cincinnati bullpen produced three scoreless innings Saturday, but Mariners pitchers retired the Reds in order in seven of nine innings.
NOTES: Mariners SS Ketel Marte left the game in the fifth inning with a left thumb sprain. X-rays were negative. ... Reds RF Jay Bruce was scratched from the starting lineup because of a sore left knee. Tyler Holt replaced him in RF. ... Reds RHP Anthony DeSclafani is restarting his rehab with a start on Wednesday for Triple-A Louisville. DeSclafani's rehab was paused briefly due to a setback with his strained left oblique. ... Mariners 1B Dae-Ho Lee is the second Mariners rookie to have two pinch-hit, game-winning RBIs, but first to do it in the same season.