SEATTLE(AP) -Felix Hernandez picked up right where Cliff Lee left off.
Hernandez threw a five-hitter for Seattle's second consecutive complete game and the Mariners beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-1 on Saturday night.
Michael Saunders hit a three-run homer for Seattle, which has won three straight. Ichiro Suzuki also connected.
Hernandez (5-5) struck out nine and walked one in his second complete game of the season and ninth of his career. Lee tossed a six-hitter in Seattle's 1-0 victory over Cincinnati on Friday night.
``A little but it's good for the team,' Hernandez said about trying to match Lee's performance. ``Cliff threw a good game and I just wanted to pitch my game.'
Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu was impressed.
``That's a pretty good showing,' he said. ``Two back-to-back complete games, you don't see that too often, especially the domination by Cliff and Felix.'
Bob Wells and Bob Wolcott were the last pitchers to throw consecutive complete games in Seattle wins, accomplishing the feat in July 1996.
The Reds lost for the fifth time in six games and dropped 1 1/2 games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
Rob Johnson hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly off Sam LeCure (1-4) before Saunders connected to make it 5-1 in the sixth.
``It was a fastball up and in and it's what we had been doing to him most of the game, going up and in and getting him out with something away,' said LeCure, who had retired Saunders on a flyout and strikeout the first two times. ``It was close to where I wanted it to be but he took advantage. I feel he was looking for that.'
Saunders hit LeCure's first pitch deep to right for his fourth homer.
``He came in early on both of my at_bats so I kind of expected that,' Saunders said.
That was the last inning for LeCure, who dropped to 0-4 with a 4.88 ERA in his last four starts.
Suzuki's third homer made it 1-0 in the third but Jonny Gomes hit a tying RBI single for the Reds in the fourth.
Cincinnati stranded Drew Stubbs on third in the fifth when Orlando Cabrera flied out to right-center field. Stubbs singled, swiped second and moved to third on a throwing error by catcher Johnson.
``I just kept throwing my sinker and my breaking balls and got a lot of ground balls,' Hernandez said about pitching against the aggressive Reds.
Hernandez threw his arms up in the air and yelled after he struck out Gomes for the final out. He almost went the distance in his previous start, when he gave up four hits over 8 2-3 innings in a 4-2 win at San Diego last Sunday.
Seattle center fielder Franklin Gutierrez took an extra-base hit away from Joey Votto in the first when he caught a fly ball just below the top of the wall.
NOTES: Reds C Ramon Hernandez returned to the lineup after he missing Friday's game with lower back pain. ... Seattle RHP Doug Fister is expected to start Friday or Saturday at Milwaukee after missing three starts with a fatigued shoulder. He will throw Sunday for Triple-A Tacoma.
The Associated Press News Service
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