PEORIA, Ariz. - With likely opening day starter Jamie Moyer on the mound, the Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics by a score of 11-4 in their first meeting of the 2005 Cactus League season. The M's took the lead in the second inning and never looked back.
Jamie Moyer (1-1, 2.70 ERA) picked up the win with five strong innings, allowing just one hit and one run, while walking three and striking out five. The only hard-hit ball the lefty allowed was an Eric Byrnes fly out to deep right field. Moyer needed 77 pitches (42 strikes, 35 balls) to get through his third start of the spring. He is the first M's pitcher this spring to be extended beyond four innings of work.
The M's took an early 3-0 lead on a string of singles in the second inning. With one out, Shin-soo Choo began the offensive barrage, lacing a single up the middle. After Jose Lopez popped out to second, Greg Dobbs buzzed one by the head of Barry Zito in to center field, setting the scene for Miguel Olivo.
The catcher recorded his first RBI of Cactus League play, when he pushed a single to right that allowed Choo to score. Greg Dobbs, running hard all the way, continued toward third and raced home after right fielder Eric Byrnes' attempt to throw him out got away from third baseman Eric Chavez.
Following Olivo's single that got the crowd roaring, Randy Winn prolonged the buzz with a single up the middle. The ball grazed the glove of Keith Ginter but squirted into the oputfield and allowed Olivo to score the third and final run of the inning.
After the A's scratched out a run in the third, the Mariners continued their offensive onslaught. After Adrian Beltre singled and stole second, Bret Boone singled him home with one out. Choo followed Boone with another liner to right that allowed the second baseman to move to third.
With one out and runners at the corners, ‘Pez grounded softly to Chavez at third. Rushing to turn the double play, Chavez overthrew the second baseman and allowed Boone to score as Choo to strolled into third. The M's capped off the inning on a sacrifice fly by Dobbs, putting the M's in control 6-1.
The M's went on to add a run in the fourth and, after a solid fifth inning by Moyer, Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Jeff Nelson took over. Hasegawa needed just 11 pitches to retire the side in order while Nelson struck out two and allowed one hit in the seventh inning.
With Seattle now up to nine runs, thanks to a two-RBI ground rule double by Justin Leone, Ron Villone took over and would go the rest of the way. Villone, however, was not nearly as sharp as the rest of the staff. The left-hander allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits and a walk in his two innings of work to close out the game.
In the end, the M's tallied 11 runs on 13 hits in the game on Tuesday. Seattle recorded the same number of runs and hits as they did in Monday's split squad games combined.
The Mariners improved to 4-9 in the Cactus League and will square off against the San Francisco Giants at the Peoria Sports Complex on Wednesday at 11:05. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and will feature Gil Meche on the mound for the M's.
PLAY OF THE DAY:
It is High, it is Far, It is... Foul - Greg Dobbs stepped to the dish with runners on first and third and one out to face Oakland left-hander Barry Zito for the second time in the game.
Already 1-for-1 on the day after nearly beheading Zito with a screaming liner up the middle, Dobbs was looking to do some damage with ducks sitting on the pond, waiting to paddle home.
Dobbs fell to a full count after Zito cornered himself with three straight balls to start. The 3-2 pitch from Zito left his hand and would never be seen again.
Dobbs turned on the heater and drove it deep down the right field line, high and far, way out of the ballpark – foul... just foul. The long foul ball may have been the best struck ball that any M's hitter has produced this spring and was just one more sign that the 26-year-old may be hitting his way onto the 25-man roster.
Dobbs followed the skyball with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Shin-soo Choo from third, making the score 6-1 in favor of Seattle. Dobbs is hitting .381 on the spring.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
Jamie Moyer, LHP - Moyer was solid, allowing just the one hit, a soft, blooping liner to center off the bat of Nick Swisher. The 42-year-old left-hander walked three and struck out five in the first five-inning stint of three spring by a Mariners starter. Moyer was economical through four innings, throwing just 50 pitches to record the first 12 outs.
Moyer was in command of the game from the start, and after the bats gave him some wiggle room, the southpaw cruised through the lineup until the fifth, when he walked the first two batters of the inning. The M's likely opening day starter got the next three batters in order to preserve the 7-1 lead.
Miguel Olivo, C - Already showing improved defense this spring, the M's starting catcher is beginning to swing the bat a little bit better. The 26-year-old had two hits and a run batted in Tuesday, including a wind-hindered double off the wall in left field. The sharply hit high fly ball smacked off the top quarter of the fence, just out of the reach of leaping A's left fielder Nick Swisher. The wind was blowing in from left and halted Olivo's bid for his first spring long ball, but Olivo is clearly seeing the ball better in his past six plate appearances.
Shin-soo Choo, RF - The M's No. 3 prospect had three more hits Tuesday, raising his spring average to .350. The 22-year-old started in right field and made three routine plays after struggling earlier this month in the field. Choo is slated for Triple-A Tacoma, but isn't going to make the M's decision to send him to minor league camp an easy one.
DEEP THOUGHTS, by InsidethePark.com