M's Win, Hand Brew Crew First Loss

The Mariners picked up win No. 1 on the Cactus League schedule, scoring six runs in the bottom of the eighth to hand the Brewers their first loss of the spring. Seattle lost its other split-squad game of the day against the Angels, but who's counting?



FINAL
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Milwaukee
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Seattle
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Win - S. Atchison (1-0) Loss - S. Narron (0-1)
HR - Gil (1), Fielder (1)
Att: 3,507


PEORIA, Ari. – When the Mariners hit the the offseason last fall after floundering onto a 99-loss 2004 season, the main objective wasn't just to get better, it was to get younger - much younger.

By signing two powerful bats, ages 26 and 30, and installing a 23-year-old in center field, the Mariners have gotten better and younger. Today at the Peoria Sports Complex, the younger put forth a solid effort in handing the Mariners their first Cactus League victory, an 8-4 triumph over Milwaukee in a split-squad contest.

The M's fell behind 2-0 in the first but exploded for six runs in the eighth to take their first lead of the game, a lead they never relinquished.

Justin Leone led off the inning with a walk, followed by consecutive singles from Kit Pellow and Shin-soo Choo. Choo's liner, his second hit of the game, loaded the bases for shortstop Jose Lopez.

Lopez smacked a bases clearing triple to center field off loser Sam Narron, giving the M's a 5-4 lead. Bloomquist then followed with an opposite field double that scored Lopez from third.

Narron failed to record an out, surrendering five runs on four hits and a walk.

Starting pitcher Aaron Sele settled down to pitch two scoreless innings after giving up two runs in the first on a 415-foot blast down the right field line by Brewers top prospect Prince Fielder.

Sele threw 45 pitches in three innings, 26 for strikes. The right-hander's first start of the spring was mildly successful, despite falling behind in the count to half the hitters he faced. Working off his fastball, Sele mixed in a solid curveball and had command of his change-up early on.

Right-hand reliever tossed a scoreless pair of innings in the eighth and ninth to earn the win.


In Tempe, the other half of the split squad wasn't able to make it a clean sweep for the M's. The Angels defeated the Mariners 11-5 and battered reliever Masao Kida for seven runs on seven hits in 1.2 innings.

The M's were traling 9-0 through five innings before putting up five runs over the final four frames.

Adrian Beltre (1B, 2B) and Gary Harris (3B, HR) had two hits apiece, Raul Ibanez added three singles of his own and catcher Rene Rivera hit his first spring home run.

Starter Ryan Franklin did not allow an earned run over two innings.

Adam Jones singled in his only at-bat, while Mike Morse started at DH and went 1-for-4.

Right-hander Rett Johnson walked three batters but worked his way out of the jam for a scoreless inning.

Julio Mateo went 2.1 shutout innings.


PLAY OF THE DAY:

Yes Way, Jose- Jose Lopez started at shortstop for the M's and on top of the game-winning hit in the eighth, played solid defense. The 21-year-old turned in the play of the day with his effort in the third inning, with one on, one out, and the Mariners down 2-0.

Prince Fielder, who had homered in the first, sent a routine grounder to second that was fielded by second baseman Willie Bloomquist. Bloomquist made the sharp turn to the bag, where Lopez snagged the throw on the outfield side, spun around clockwise and fired a strike to Richie Sexson at first to complete the inning-ending twin-killing.


PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

Shin-soo Choo, DH - Choo got the start as the designated hitter on Tuesday, batting fifth between Sexson and Lopez. The 22-year-old started his day off slowly, grounding out twice in his first two at-bats.

In the sixth, however, Choo collected the first Mariner hit since Ichiro and Jeremy Reed led off the bottom of the first with singles. The double that scored Scott Spiezio and Richie Sexson, after both drew walks with two outs, came off of Brewers prospect Jose Capellan, acquired from the Atlanta Braves for closer Danny Kolb.

Choo is hitting .429 in Cactus League play and hit his second long ball of the spring in a "B" game on Monday afternoon.

Willie Bloomquist, 2B/CF - Bloomquist had two doubles and a walk in three at-bats and played solid defense at both second base and center field. If the versatile fielder can show he can handle center in spot duty, he is making his manager's decision for the utility position very easy to make.

Bloomquist had two RBI Tuesday and is hitting .375 this spring.


DEEP THOUGHTS, by InsidethePark.com

  • Yunieksy Betancourt played three innings at second base Tuesday, showing the range and athleticism the club saw in him this past winter.
  • Scott Spiezio started the game at third base, the third position he has played significant time at thus far. Spiezio was 0-2 with a walk but made a diving stop of a sharply hit grounder and threw out Milwaukee's Cory Hart at first.
  • Left-hander George Sherrill scuffled in his second appearance this spring, but fought around an error by Benji Gil in right field to get out of the inning with just one run allowed. Gil misplayed a fly ball to the warning track, handing the Brewers three bases. Sherrill then induced a grounder from Brooks Kieschnick, only to have the ball bounce past a diving Spiezio from a drawn-in infield.
  • Justin Leone made his first spring appearance after sitting out a week with a quadriceps strain. Leone played two innings at third base and walked in his only plate appearance.
  • Wladimir Balentien went 0-4 on the day, getting the start in left field. But the box score hardly tells the entire story. In the eighth inning, Balentien put together the best Mariners at bat of the spring thus far while facing Brewers pitcher Alec Zumwalt. The outfielder fouled off six pitches in a row before ultimately swinging through a third strike, and walked off the field to one of the biggest cheers of the day.
  • Richie Sexson checked two more swings on sliders in the dirt and managed to avoid blowing out his shoulder. Maybe he is healthy after all.
  • Jeff Nelson pitched the fifth inning, allowing a run on two hits. Nelson threw 20 pitches, only 11 for strikes.
  • Shigestoshi Hasegawa was perhaps the star of the pitching staff Tuesday, shutting out the Brewers for two frames and allowing just one hit. Hasegawa threw 29 pitches, 19 for strikes.
  • In the eighth inning, one of the craziest foul ball bounces in the history of baseball hit a walkway railing, kicked backwards high into the air and into the hands of a man in the fourth row of the bleachers talking on his cell phone. The catch was impressive enough to draw a small applause from the crowd.



  • THE BATTLE IN THE BULLPEN

    With three spots seemingly guaranteed for Eddie Guardado, Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Ron Villone, four roles are yet to be won – or lost. Right-handers J.J. Putz, Julio Mateo, Dan Reichert, Jorge Campillo and Scott Atchison will battle for three spots while George Sherrill and Matt Thornton are competing for one left-handed specialists role.

    Reichert and Campillo are also in the running for the starting rotation and if either of them or Aaron Sele win a starting job, right-hander Ryan Franklin could be tried out in the bullpen.


    QUOTES OF THE DAY:

    "Dude, you have to try this chapstick. Not mine, but you gotta get some of this stuff." - One adult male fan to another as they each kill time between innings.


    PHOTO OF THE DAY

    In between the main field at the Peoria Sports Complex and the practice facilities next door, you might just run into the sights and sounds of a Great Dane helping himself to a drink of water. "Jesus" had been walking most of the afternoon around the complex and needed a little agua refreshment.


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