Leave it to the Rangers to give the Mariners their best game thus far in the Cactus League season.
Seattle limited Texas to one hit through seven innings, at one point retiring 15 Rangers batters in a row, and rolled to a 6-2 victory amid 92-degree weather at Peoria Sports Complex on Tuesday.
Gil Meche got the start for the Mariners (2-3) and was sharp in his three innings. He surrenedered a run in the first before retiring the Rangers without any damage done in the second and third. He earned his first win of the spring.
As impressive as Meche was, the M's relief corps equaled their young right-hander's performance.
Non-roster invitee Ron Villone, a left-hander, came in and pitched a perfect fourth and fifth inning and struck out two along the way.
RHP Clint Nageotte, the M's top prospect at InsidethePark.com, had his slider working well and followed with two unhittable innings of his own. He left after striking out two over two perfect innings.
LHP George Sherrill came in to pitch the eighth, and didn't allow a run despite allowing the first Rangers' hit since the third inning. He also walked a batter, but got out of the jam by using his slider and curve to set up his fastball. He had better command of his offspeed pitches than in his first outing last week.
Aaron Looper came in and allowed two more Rangers hits in the ninth, giving up a run in the process.
But by that point, the M's held far too large of a lead at 6-1 to worry about a Rangers' comeback.
Willie Bloomquist got the M's on the board in the second with a RBI single, then Jose Lopez, playing third for the first time this spring, drove home another with an infield out.
Lopez added another RBI in the fourth on a sacrifice fly, and finished the day 1-2 with two RBI.
Ahead 3-1 heading into the sixth, 1B Bucky Jacobsen pounded a towering homer to the left field power alley for two more runs, and Jamal Strong drove in another with one of his two hits on the day. That rounded out the scoring.
The M's play Anaheim at Tempe Diablo Stadium Wednesday at 12:05 PST.
LHP Bobby Madritsch chats with pitching coach Bryan Price in a shaded bullpen Tuesday.
InsidethePark.com Player of the Game: OF Jamal Strong
Jamal Strong was 2-2 from the plate with two RBI, and simply did it all. After replacing Randy Winn in centerfield, he came in and made a great play on a rising line drive.
InsidethePark.com Play of the Game:
Seldom used thus far this spring, bulky 1B Bucky Jacobsen started a three-run sixth inning when he cracked a leadoff homer over the left-center field wall. The home run was hit high and just continued to soar the further it went, carrying out for a homer.
M's Starting Lineup:
SS Ramon Santiago
Odds and Ends:
Ramon Santiago is putting together an impressive spring so far, drawing praise from manager Bob Melvin in recent days. The slick-fielding shortstop acquired from Detroit in the offseason has done just as well at the plate, going 5-11 with three doubles thus far. He's also a burner on the basepaths... Those who remain hitless through five spring games include 1B A.J. Zapp (0-7), 3B Justin Leone (0-5) and C Ben Davis (0-4)... 1B Dave Hansen has made the most of his appearances, going 5-8 from the plate.
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