The Reds began the day in a four-way tie for the third NL wild-card spot, and the AL-west leading Mariners are 39-18 since July 1 for the best record in the major leagues in that span.
With their pitching staff hit hard by COVID-19 and injuries, the Reds used seven pitchers on Monday. Lucas Sims (5-3) got the last out of the seventh to pick up the win and Ian Gibaut got the last out of the ninth to get his second save.
Right-hander Tejay Antone made his fifth career start, first since 2020, throwing two hitless innings with three strikeouts. He returned Saturday after not pitching since 2021 following two Tommy John surgeries.
Mariners starter Bryan Woo (2-4) allowed five runs, hit three batters and walked three in five innings. He did not record a strikeout.
Elly De La Cruz and Hunter Renfroe had RBI singles in the first inning to put the Reds ahead 2-0. Steer's 20th home run of the season extended the lead to 5-0 in the second, making him the seventh Cincinnati rookie to hit 20 or more.
Rodriguez, the AL player of the month for August, hit his 25th home run in the fourth off Daniel Duarte. Ford got his 15th in the fifth off Michael Mariot to pull Seattle to 5-2.
The Mariners had the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, but Sims struck out Rodriguez to end the inning.
Rodriguez faced Gibaut with two runners on in the ninth, but struck out looking.
Mariners 3B Eugenio Suarez and RHP Luis Castillo returned to Cincinnati for the first time since being traded. Suarez was sent to Seattle along with Jesse Winker on March 4, 2022, after seven seasons in Cincinnati. Castillo was dealt to the Mariners on July 30, 2022, after six years with the Reds. “I built my career here,” Suarez said prior to the game. "The fans still support me. My first daughter was born here. This is my home.”
Two more Cincinnati support staff members tested positive for COVID-19, but Reds manager David Bell is hopeful that no more players have the virus. The Reds currently have four pitchers on the 7-day COVID-19 injured list, including starters Hunter Greene and Brandon Williamson. All are expected to return this week.
Reds RHP Connor Phillips will make his major-league debut against Mariners RHP Bryce Miller (8-4, 3.93).
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb
Jeff Wallner, The Associated Press