PEORIA, Ari. – On a day where half the club was 20 minutes down the road in Surprise, the Mariners dropped a split-squad game versus the San Diego Padres when the bullpen couldn't hold a one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth. The Padres scored two that inning en route to the 4-3 loss.
The M's led 3-2 after seven innings behind the pitching of starter Cha Seung Baek (4.0 ip, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K), and the relief work of Felix Hernandez (2.0 ip, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K).
Right-hander Clint Nageotte came on in the seventh and, despite giving up a base hit, held the Padres scoreless to preserve the lead.
In the eighth, however, Nageotte served up four hits and two earned runs to surrender the lead, and ultimately the game for the Mariners.
Nageotte threw 31 pitches, 21 for strikes, but threw 20 of his 31 pitches in the game-deciding eighth frame.
The Mariners swapped the lead with the Padres twice early in the game, taking a 1-0 lead in their first at-bat of the first inning, only to see it evaporate immediately when Baek gave up two runs in the bottom of the frame.
Seattle would regain the lead when Raul Ibanez collected his 14th hit of the spring and Scott Spiezio belted his first home run, making it 3-2 in favor of Seattle.
Nageotte (0-1, 4.50 ERA) picked up the loss after his shaky eighth inning while former Mariner farmhand Randy Williams got the win after pitching a scoreless eighth.
In Surprise, the other half of the M's split-squad settled for a nine-inning, 4-4 tie with the Royals, but the club got great reports back to camp from the crew on the road.
Aaron Sele got the start and was simply stellar in his four innings of work. The right-hander fanned seven without issuing a walk, and allowed just two hits.
J.J. Putz followed Sele with a shutout inning of his own, walking a man and striking out another. Left-hander Nate Bland struggled for the first time this spring, allowing four earned runs on three hits and three walks.
Jon Huber went the final two innings for the M's and did not allow a run.
Offensively, Jeremy Reed hit his first home run of the spring and Yuniesky Betancourt had two hits to pace the Mariners. Richie Sexson had his first multi-hit game of the spring, going 2-for-3 with a RBI, which came on a bases loaded walk.
The Mariners take on the Oakland Athletics at the PSC on Tuesday, sending left-hander Jamie Moyer to the hill versus Oakland's Barry Zito. Also scheduled to pitch are right-handers Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Dan Reichert and Jeff Nelson, and lefty Ron Villone.
PLAY OF THE DAY:
Dan the Man - In the bottom of the sixth inning with Felix Hernandez on the mound, Dan Wilson erased the only two mistakes that "Kid K" made in his two innings of work. After Jon Knott singled, Wilson gunned him down at second trying to steal.
Ramon Hernandez punched a single of his own through the left side of the infield and then gave way to speedster supreme, Freddy Guzman. Guzman took off for second on strike two to Xavier Nady, a slider that scraped the outside corner. Wilson popped up off the dirt and threw a perfect laser to Lopez at second, who then applied the tag to Guzman for the out.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
Ichiro, RF - Ichiro had two more hits to improve his average to .522 on the spring. The defending American League Batting Champion led off the game with a screaming line drive to right field and added another single in the fifth on a sharp ground ball up the middle.
Felix Hernandez, RHP - Though his performance wasn't a key part of a Mariners victory, El Cartelua was electric with each and every one of his 31 pitches. Getting Khalil Greene and Jessie Garcia on strikes and then all-star Brian Giles on a weak ground out, Felix showed he can make major league hitters look foolish just as well minor leaguers. Greene and Garcia fanned on nasty sliders, while Giles fought off a slider and five fastballs just to make contact.
DEEP THOUGHTS, by InsidethePark.com
ANOTHER PEANUT QUOTE
Why is it that you are always talkin' about peanuts."
Five-year-old to 3-year-old brother after a long conversation over whether to pick up a dropped peanut or to reach in and grab another one out of the bag.