SEATTLE—Felix Hernandez threw a five-hitter and Michael Saunders backed the right-hander with a hit a three-run homer to give the Seattle Mariners a 5-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night.
The Mariners won their third consecutive game and shut down the Reds for a second straight night.
The Reds lost for the fifth time in six games and dropped 1½ games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
Hernandez (5-5) won his second consecutive start. He struck out nine and walked one in his second complete game of the season and ninth of his career. The Mariners beat the Reds 1-0 on a six-hitter by Cliff Lee on Friday.
The Mariners have not had back-to-back complete-game victories since July 14-15, 1996 with Bob Wells and Bob Wolcott.
Saunders hit a three-run homer to right in the sixth off starter Sam LeCure (1-4) to give the Mariners a 5-1 lead after Rob Johnson's sacrifice fly broke a 1-1 tie.
LeCure gave up eight hits and five runs in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Jonny Gomes hit an RBI single for the Reds in the fourth to tie it at 1-1.
Ichiro Suzuki hit a solo homer to right in the third to put the Mariners up 1-0.
The Reds stranded Drew Stubbs on third in the fifth when Orlando Cabrera flied out to right-center field. Stubbs reached third on a single, stolen base and throwing error by Johnson, the catcher.
Seattle center fielder Franklin Gutierrez took an extra-base hit away from Votto in the first when he caught a fly just below the top of the wall.
Hernandez threw his second straight strong outing. He gave up four hits, struck out nine and walked one in 8 2/3 innings in a 4-2 win at San Diego June 13.
NOTES: Catcher Ramon Hernandez returned to the Reds starting lineup after he missed Friday's game with a lower back pain. ... Seattle P Doug Fister is expected to start Friday or Saturday at Milwaukee after missing three starts with a fatigued shoulder. He will throw Sunday for the Tacoma Rainiers in Triple-A. ... Reds reliever Arthur Rhodes, a former Mariners pitcher, pitched one inning in the 1-0 loss Friday to extend his scoreless streak to 28 innings, longest by a reliever in the majors this season.