McCoy: Montas struggles, Mariners rip Reds

It was a night Frankie Montas quickly will erase forever from his memory bank and his Cincinnati Reds teammates might do the same.

The Seattle Mariners ripped the Reds asunder Monday on Jackie Robinson Night, 9-3, after Montas suffered a monstrously bad first inning.

He walked the first two Mariners on full counts then gave up a three-run home run to Jorge Polanco.

The two hitters he walked were hitting .164 and .186 and Polanco was batting .176.

Before the inning ended, Montas walked four, went to 3-and-2 on four hitters and threw 45 pitches, 22 out of the strike zone. It was the most pitches Montas ever threw in one inning ….and most of them weren’t close.

Everything seemed in Cincinnati’s favor before the game … then they played the game.

In six home games at T-Mobile Park, the Mariners had scored two or fewer runs five times and scored five once. They had scored the third fewest runs in MLB.

And in his previous two appearances Seattle starter George Kirby had given up 13 runs and 18 hits in 7 2/3 innings. His earned run average was 8.61.

He was a different kind of animal Monday against the Reds — six innings, two runs, five hits, no walks, six strikeouts.

After the horrendous first inning, Montas pitched a 1-2-3 second on 12 pitches and the Reds scored a run in the second on Jeimer Candelario’s home run.

So it was 3-1 in the third and it appeared that Montas had settled down.

Not so.

Once again, he walked the first batter in the third, Polanco on another full count. Mitch Hanniger homered over the left field wall for a 5-1 Mariners lead and Montas’ evening was over barely after it started.

The Reds kept it close with another run in the fourth on a leadoff double by Christian Encarnacion-Strand and a checked swing bloop double over third base by Jake Fraley. But Fraley over slid third base on a steal attempt and was out, ending the inning with the Reds down, 5-2.

Nick Martinez replaced Montas in the third after Hanniger’s home run and it looked as if the Reds started the wrong pitcher on this night.

Martinez retired nine in a row, keeping it close. But he ran out of magic in his fourth inning and gave up a run on a double by Ty France, a single by Cal Raleigh and a run-scoring single by Jonatan Clase.

Clase, one of Seattle’s top prospects, was called up from Triple-A just before the game and thus recorded his first major league hit and RBI.

The Reds moved to within three in the seventh when the left-handed Fraley hit a home run off a left-hander, the first pitch thrown by relief pitcher Gabe Speier.

It was a fruitful return to Seattle for Fraley. The Mariners traded him to Cincinnati in a deal that sent Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to Seattle.

While Fraley is still with the Reds, Winker is now employed by the Washington Nationals and Suarez works for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Fraley finished the night with a double and his first home run of the season.

Although it never seemed the Reds were in it, the game got completely away from them in the Seattle seventh when Buck Farmer gave up three runs.

The first three batters reached base, a single and stolen base by Julio Rodriguez, a walk to Polanco, a run-scoring single by Hanniger, a sacrifice fly by France and a triple by Luke Raley and it was 9-3.

Four of Seattle’s nine runs were scored by batters who were walked.

Playing Seattle and visiting T-Mobile Park has not been pleasant for the Reds. Since T-Mobile opened, the Reds are 2-8 in Seattle’s home and 5-17 overall.

It was not a good night for the usually clutch Spencer Steer. In each of his first three at bats he left a runner on second base. The Reds were 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

Will Benson joined Fraley with two hits and Encarnacion-Strand had two hits as those three accounted for six of the Reds seven hits.

Jonathan India went to 3-and-2 counts in each of his first three at bats and struck out each time and was 0 for 4. Elly De La Cruz went hitless for the second straight game and is 0 for 14 with five strikeouts and two walks.

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