A four-run eighth inning, coming off three different pitchers, drew the Mariners to within a single run and in the ninth, a leadoff error allowed a fourth Seattle batter to come to the plate and he smacked a home run off the Dodgers eighth pitcher, rookie Victor Garate to give them their winning margin.
Xavier Paul, Orlando Hudson and Casey Blake had RBI hits in a three-run third. Juan Pierre and A.J. Ellis knocked in runs and a double steal in the four-run sixth gave the Dodgers their 7-2 lead.
Spring games are really two games in one. The first five innings with the starting lineup and the final four or so with the rookies, veterans trying to hang earn a spot and the over-the-hill gang hoping they can squeeze one more season out of their careers.
Chad Billingsley and Shawn Estes worked the first five innings and allowed five base runners. They were followed by Guillermo Mota, Nick DeBarr, Carmen Cali, Edgar Martinez, Jesus Castillo and Victor Garate who were smothered by a mind-numbing 15 base runners, seven of them scoring, over the final four innings.
The Dodgers team earned run average ballooned to 6.04 after the game.
Toy Cannon Honored
Outfielder Jimmy Wynn, known as the "Toy Cannon" because of his slight build and his surprising power, was honored before the game during the first pitch ceremony. Wynn, leaning heavily on a cane, allowed his grandson, Fernando, replace him on the mound. The young lad fired a strike and was given a rousing cheer from the fans.
Wynn, only 5-9 and 170 pounds, was obtained from Houston in the twilight of his career in a trade for Claude Osteen, had perhaps the best season of his career with 32 home runs, 108 RBI, a .403 on-base percentage and 109 runs created to help the Dodgers win the 1974 National League pennant. He played one more season in L.A. and was then traded to Atlanta for Dusty Baker.
As an aside, just minutes before the start of the game, Trisha Gilligan and Steve Anderson were married in the upper deck just to the right of the pressbox, the first wedding in the new park. The bride, wearing her bridal veil over her Dodgers cap, watched the rest of the game with her new husband. Sharp Start
Starter Chad Billingsley held Seattle hitless in the first inning, pitching around an error by Blake DeWitt on former Dodger third baseman Adrian Beltré's ground ball. Then in the second he set the Mariners down 1-2-3 with the help of rookie catcher A.J. Ellis.
Ellis, making his second start of the spring, followed a one-out single by throwing the runner out at second. Another single followed as did another perfect throw that cancelled out the second hit just a effectively.
DeWitt made a strong defensive play to open the third, running in on a soft ground ball and throwing the runner out at first. James Loney put a lid on the play with a saving, short-hop pickup.
Following a single, Orlando Hudson ranged into short right field to gather in a ground ball and toss the runner out at first. Billingsley ended the inning with his third strikeout in three innings.
Outfielder Juan Pierre singled past the pitcher's box and into center field for the Dodgers first hit leading off the third and then he stole second. Xavier Paul, hitting .391, boosted that number with a triple over the left fielder's head to drive in the first run of the game.
Ellis flew to short center and Rafael Furcal walked but was picked off firsts. With two out, Hudson's broken-bat infield single scored Paul.
The Mariners changed pitchers and before the newly arrived hurler made a pitch he attempted to pick Hudson off first. The ball zinged over the first baseman and rolled down the right field line with Hudson finally stopping at third.
Andre Ethier walked and Casey Blake, in his first game since the opening game of the exhibition season, singled in the third run. Loney launched a rocket down the third base line that nearly nailed coach Larry Bowa before bouncing out to the pitcher to end the inning but the Dodgers led 3-0.
LHP Shawn Estes has an easy three up, three down fourth inning. Then he served up a home run to the first Mariner, Wladimir Balentien, to open the fifth. A walk preceded another spectacular play by Hudson. He dived and gloved the ball on a hard shot up the middle. From the ground he tossed to Furcal who completed the double play. A strikeout ended the inning.
Although Hudson came into the game 1-for-8, it seemed apparent to all present at the game that his glove alone was well worth the $3+ million for which he was signed.
RHP Gulliermo Mota took the mound in the top of the sixth and the Mariners wasted no time roughing him up. A leadoff home run, a double and a single quickly cut the Dodgers lead to 3-2 and a walk loaded the bases with none out.
Mota extracted himself from the mess when he grabbed a high hopper back to the mound and started a 1-2-3 double play, then got the third out on a fly to right.
In the bottom of the sixth, Andre Ethier and Casey Blake opened with singles, Jason Repko and Mitch Jones ran for them, and Juan Pierre, who came into the game hitting .067, collected his first two RBIs of the spring with a single to center.
Xavier Paul lived on an error and Ellis singled sharply to right, driving in the third run of the inning. A double steal by Hoffman, who was running for Paul, and Ellis (the first steal of the season for each player), made it a 7-2 Dodger lead.
Repko pretty much manufactured a run all by himself in the bottom of the seventh. He singled to right, then steamed right into second base when the fielder fumbled the ball for a moment. Then he stole third but Mark Loretta bounced out to end the inning.
Nick DeBarr pitched a scoreless seventh and Carmen Cali started the eighth but allowed a single and a pair of walks to lead things off. Before the inning ended, Edgar Martinez and Jesus Castillo had been called to action and the Mariners had sent nine batters to the plate, scoring four of them on three hits and three walks to cut the Dodgers lead to 7-6.
Castillo remained in the game in the ninth and an error by second baseman Chin-Lung Hu on a ground ball put the tying run on base immediately. However, he got the next two outs, then gave way to left hander Victor Garate who was one pitch away from nailing down the win but gave up a two-run home run on a 1-2 pitch to put the Mariners in front 8-7 before he got the final out of the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Lucas May lined to center for the first out, Juan Castro flew harmlessly to right and Hu lined to right field to end the messy game.
The Dodgers, who slipped to 5-5 on the spring season, are hosted in CBR today (Sunday) with LHP Clayton Kershaw, RHP James McDonald, LHP Scott Elbert, RHP Ramon Troncoso getting the pitching assignments.
Score by innings Seattle 000 011 042-8 Los Angeles 003 004 000-7 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 2 0 0 0 .231 Castro ss 2 0 0 0 .467 Hudson 2b 3 1 1 1 .182 Hu 2b 2 0 0 0 .278 Ethier rf 1 0 1 0 .286 Repko pr-cf 1 1 1 0 .200 Blake dh 3 0 2 1 .600 Jones pr-dh 1 1 0 0 .273 Loney 1b 3 0 0 0 .200 Loretta 1b 1 0 0 0 .250 DeWitt 3b 3 0 0 0 .208 Mientkiewicz 3b 1 0 0 0 .200 Pierre cf 3 2 2 2 .167 Young lf 1 0 0 0 .263 Paul lf 3 0 1 0 .385 Hoffman rf 1 0 0 0 .500 Ellis c 3 0 1 1 .333 May c 1 0 0 0 .250 -------------------------------- Totals 36 7 9 6 Seattle 38 8 12 8 Errors- DeWitt (1), Hu (1), Mientkiewicz (2). 3b hit- Paul (1). RBI- Paul (8), Hudson (1), Blake (1), Pierre 2 (2), Ellis (1). SB- Pierre (2), Ellis (1), Repko (1). CS- Furcal (1). LOB- Los Angeles 4, Seattle 8. DP- Hudson, Furcal and Loney; Mota, Ellis and Loney. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Billingsley 3.0 0 0-0 0 3 1.29 Estes 2.0 1 1-1 1 2 10.13 Mota 1.0 3 1-1 1 1 2.25 DeBarr 1.0 1 0-0 0 1 6.00 Cali 0.2 1 3-2 2 1 18.00 Martinez 0.0 1 1-1 1 0 5.40 Castillo 1.0 1 1-0 0 1 4.50 Garate (0-1) 0.1 1 1-1 0 0 16.88 PB- May. T- 3:20. Att- 11,896.