PEORIA, Ari. - After two straight days of relatively quiet offensive performances at the Peoria Sports Complex, the bats began to heat up with the weather, as the sun was back in full force. Too bad for the M's that the hot bats were on the other side of the field wearing the road uniforms. The Mariners dropped their fourth game in a row in Cactus League play with a 14-8 loss versus Milwaukee on Monday afternoon.
Left-hander Bobby Madritsch made his first appearance and started sharp, only to fall into the early spring blues with his control. Madritsch labored through three frames, throwing 61 pitches, 39 strikes.
Madritsch fell behind early in many counts after the first inning and was forced to throw too many fastball in hitter's counts. Nelson Cruz tagged a Madritsch heater over the left field wall to get the Brewers on the scoreboard after Helms drew a walk.
The Mariner bats weren't sleeping all day and jumped out to a three run lead when Ichiro and Beltre set up a one-out RBI chance for 1B Raul Ibanez. Ibanez punched a double into the gap scoring Ichiro from third and Beltre all the way from first. Beltre had two hits on the day.
Randy Winn singled home Ibanez with two down to give the M's a 3-0 head start.
The pitching woes continued for the M's as Jon Huber, Matt Thornton and Dan Reichert combined to give up 11 earned runs on 14 hits over 5.2 innings of work. All three started out fine in the first half of their stints in the game, but faltered when control issues and command reared its ugly head.
Thornton issued two walks, and Huber and Reichert each fell behind hitters, forcing the seemingly inevitable fastball over the heart of the plate.
Thornton served up a 7th-inning grand slam to Enrique Cruz, breaking the game wide open for Milwaukee and ending any chance for the Mariners to pick up win No. 1.
The Brewers banged out 19 hits, including five off Huber, who picked up the loss. Milwaukee stayed undefeated on the Cactus League season with a 5-0 record.
PLAY OF THE DAY:
"T.O." with the "K.O." - Southpaw Thomas Oldham relieved Matt Thornton in the seventh inning after Thornton got into trouble and surrendered four runs that allowed the Brewers to pad their lead.
Oldham took the ball, facing right-handed batter, Matt Erickson. The count went to 2-1, and Oldham came back with a fastball for strike two. The 23-year-old battled the tension of his initial outing in a Cactus League game.
"Arm felt great," said Oldham of his first appearance in a big-league spring game. "Had to settle the nerves. "
Oldham's assignment was to finish the inning and hand it off to the veteran Reichert without further damage.
"I was just trying to throw strikes so I didn't lengthen the inning," he said. "I'm not used to relief roles so I just tried to take it pitch by pitch and not get caught up in everything."
Oldham struck out Erickson looking on a 2-2 change.
"I was glad he didn't swing."
The rally-killing outing lasted just one batter for the Creighton product but he made the most of it, getting the M's out of a jam and keeping the game within reach.
Oldham threw just five pitches, three for strikes, and used the fastball, change and the breaking ball to send Erickson and the Brewers back to dugout for their fielding gloves.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
Ichiro - The game's toughest out was at it again versus the Brewers, raising his spring average to .500 after a 3-for-4 outing Monday. Suzuki singled twice, doubled and scored a run as the team's designated hitter.
Ichiro sent a line drive to left-center in the first, singled to right in the fifth and doubled to left-center in the ninth.
The M's mega star was expected to take one of the next two days off after playing 18 innings over the three-day weekend and getting four at-bats today, but after a game as the DH, that may change.
Raul Ibanez - Ibanez got the start at first base for the M's as Richie Sexson was given the day off. Likely the M's regular DH this season, Ibanez played a solid defensive game, making a few routine plays and covering his ground.
With the bat, Ibanez went 2-for-5 with a two-run double, raising his spring average to .308. The 32-year-old hit in the cleanup spot behind Adrian Beltre.
DEEP THOUGHTS, by InsidethePark.com
Through the first four spring games, the Mariners starting pitchers have combined to go nine innings and have given up seven earned runs on nine hits. The foursome have walked six and struck out five.
Jamie Moyer is the only starter to go unscathed in an outing, tossing two shutout innings on Saturday afternooon's loss to San Diego.
Ryan Franklin and Aaron Sele will see time over the next two days.
QUOTES OF THE DAY:
"Thank you, gorgeous." - Middle-aged woman sitting in front row after M's right-hander Mike Steele tossed his warmup baseball her way after completing his long toss duties prior to the game.
"Atta boy, that'll be the only one you'll ever get." - Adult fan yelling down to 8-year-old boy as a foul ball bounced into his lap in the second inning.