Seattle (77-59) opened its lengthy trek by losing a series for the first time since dropping two of three games to the Baltimore Orioles from Aug. 11-13. The Mariners fell 6-3 to the New York Mets on Sunday in the rubber match of their three-game set.
Seattle gave up four runs in the first three innings before responding with three runs in the fourth. The Mariners were unable to generate anything in the way of offense the rest of the way.
"Every game is gonna be a struggle," manager Scott Servais told The Seattle Times. "It doesn't matter who you're playing, with our schedule. We don't have any easy ones."
The series in New York concluded one of Seattle's last against a sub-.500 team. The set with Cincinnati is the first of three in the Mariners' next four series against teams in the playoff chase.
Cincinnati (71-68) will begin this series tied for the final wild-card spot in the National League.
Seattle remains alone atop the American League West after Houston lost to the New York Yankees on Sunday night. The Mariners lead both the Astros and Texas Rangers by one game in the division.
Cincinnati is coming off a four-game split with the Chicago Cubs.
After winning with ninth-inning rallies in the second game of a doubleheader on Friday, and again on Saturday, the Reds' imploded down the stretch on Sunday. They surrendered 11 runs over the final three innings of a 15-7 defeat.
Carson Spiers made his major league debut in the loss after being called up earlier in the week from Double-A Chattanooga. Spiers' presence in the starting lineup reflects the rash of absences the Reds have faced both in their starting rotation and bullpen in recent weeks, partially the result of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Starters Brandon Williamson — originally scheduled to start on Sunday — Hunter Greene and Ben Lively were placed on the injured list, along with reliever Fernando Cruz.
"We've got guys here that are healthy and that are going to have to carry the load moving forward until we get those guys back," relief pitcher Buck Farmer told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
To that end, right-hander Tejay Antone is scheduled to make his first major league start on Monday since the 2020 season. He has yet to face the Mariners in his career.
Antone has pitched just once this season for Cincinnati, working one scoreless inning in relief in Saturday's win over the Cubs. He did not factor into the decision.
Bryan Woo (2-3, 4.15 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday's game for Seattle. The right-hander is seeking a second consecutive win after having gone over two months between wins previously.
Woo scattered three hits over six shutout innings Aug. 28 against the Oakland Athletics. Monday will mark his first career appearance against both Cincinnati and a National League Central opponent.
—Field Level Media