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Reds sink Mariners

After a bitter end to the Reds' 2010 season came in the form of a three-game sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Division Series, Cincinnati fans have been clamoring for the 2011 season to begin.  With spring training a little more than a week old, those fans are looking at a nearly unchanged roster with a ton of youngsters competing for very few spots.  Those young spring training invitees have given the Reds faithful plenty to talk about, as today's 3-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners marks the fifth in the first seven exhibition contests.

Chris Reineke took the starting duties on the mound, and pitched three full innings, allowing just one run on three hits.  Reds batters helped Reineke to his first win this spring with a two-run second inning which proved to be enough to take care of the boys from the Pacific Northwest.  Reineke posted a 9-9 record with a 3.91 ERA at AAA Louisville a season ago to earn himself a spot this spring, and although the Reds appear to have more starting pitching than rotation spots, Reineke is looking like a youngster with a bright future.

Starting pitching is obviously a strong part of this season's Reds, and early in the spring, those starters have shown tremendous control.  In the first seven games, Cincinnati starters have chalked up only one base-on-balls.

Following Reineke was a five-way shutout effort between Bill Bray, Jerry Gil, Dontrelle Willis, Nick Masset, and Phillippe Valiquette.  Masset bounced back nicely after a horrendous third of an inning against the Indians on Feb. 28 in which he allowed three earned runs on three hits and a walk.

The Reds' offense has started to perk up as of late.  Juan Duran, Yonder Alonso, and Zack Cozart each notched two hits in this afternoon's victory.  Alonso has hit safely in each of his three starts and has a .571 batting average in seven plate appearances.

The Reds' offense came early in this one, and two of their three runs came in the second inning.  After Ramon Hernandez scorched a double down the left-field line, new Red Fred Lewis promptly knocked a single up the middle to send Hernandez to the plate.  Lewis was able to reach second on a throw to the plate.  After a Hermida groundout sent Lewis to third, he crossed the plate for the Reds' second run on a Kris Negron sacrifice fly.

The Mariners answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the third inning when a sacrifice fly from the bat of Ichiro Suzuki sent Dustin Ackley to the plate.

Hernandez kept up his solid spring reputation behind the plate.  Prior to Reineke's one earned run, Reds' pitchers were allowing just a 1.13 ERA with Hernandez calling the pitches.

Early on, the Reds longest hitting streak of the spring came to an end when Jeremy Hermida went 0-for-2.  Hermida had hit safely in his previous four showings.  One of four Reds on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects List, catcher Devin Mesoraco ended a three-game hitting streak after going 0-for-1 following a seventh-inning replacement of first-round pick Yasmani Grandal.

Tomorrow (Mar. 5), the Reds will face the National League West's Los Angeles Dodgers.  Bronson Arroyo will take the mound to start opposite LA's Clayton Kershaw, who is coming off a solid 2010 season.  Slated to take the mound after Arroyo are Logan Ondrusek, Jose Arredondo, Jordan Smith, Scott Carroll, and Jeremy Horst.

The Reds will take on the Mariners again on Mar. 21 at Goodyear Ballpark.  Although last spring, the opponents split two games, the Mariners have a clear advantage in regular season matches.  The Reds have posted just a 1-8 regular season record against Seattle, including last season's three-game losing sweep at Safeco Field.

Mike Zimmerman

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