PEORIA, Ari. - The Seattle Mariners played what possibly could have been one of the quickest games of the spring, disposing of the San Francisco Giants in exactly two hours.
Gil Meche and Bobby Madritsch rolled through the Giants lineup, surrendering just two hits, both in the four innings by Meche. The duo struck out six in the seven combined innings, without issuing a walk.
The M's used 10 hits to push across four runs, which proved to be more than enough for the club's pitching to handle.
Ichiro Suzuki had another two-hit game to lead the Mariners attack, and Raul Ibanez kept pace with his own two-hit day. Adrian Beltre and Ibanez each had run-scoring singles and Ramon Santiago, who got the start at shortstop on Wednesday, went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple, raising his spring average to .375.
After the M's took a 4-0 lead, left-hander Matt Thornton yielded the lone Giants run by walking Yorvit Torrealba and giving up consecutive singles to Jason Ellison and Clay Timpner with two outs in the eighth inning.
Right-hander Dan Reichert closed it out for the M's, who moved to 5-9 on the spring. Seattle will take Thursday off before heading to Scottsdale to complete the home and home versus San Francisco. Ryan Franklin is scheduled to take the mound for the Mariners.
PLAY OF THE DAY:
Rauuuuuuul! - The Mariners OF/DH got the start in left field Wednesday and made his mark with his arm, not just his bat. Ibanez fielded a base hit off the bat of Clay Timpner, and as Torrealba scored, Ibanez gunned down Timpner at second as the Giants center fielder was trying to stretch the single into a double. The throw was a laser beam one-hopper to Santiago, who applied the tag for the inning-ending out.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
Gil Meche, RHP and Bobby Madritsch, LHP - Meche and Madritsch each looked to be in mid-season form on Thursday, throwing a concession stands worth of strikes and dominating the Barry Bonds-less Giants lineup. Combining for seven near-perfect frames, Meche and Madritsch appear close to locking up spots in the starting rotation.
Madritsch has been solid all spring, while Meche has been strong his last two outings. Another quality start or two by both pitchers would almost certainly sew up each pitcher's 2005 role with the club.
DEEP THOUGHTS, by InsidethePark.com
M's Make More Cuts
The Mariners trimmed the roster for a second time this spring, sending nine players to minor league camp and reducing the major league roster to 47.
Catcher Rene Rivera and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt were outrighted to Double-A San Antonio, while outfielder Wladimir Balentien was outrighted to Advanced-A Inland Empire.
The Mariners also sent third baseman Justin Leone (.286, 2 RBI in Cactus League), outfielder Shin-soo Choo (.350, HR, 4 RBI), shortstop Michael Morse (.375, RBI), and right-hander Clint Nageotte (0-1, 3.60 ERA, 5 IP) to Triple-A Tacoma.
Right-hander Jon Huber and infielder Mickey Lopez were sent to minor league camp without an assigned club. Huber is likely to start the year with Double-A San Antonio, while Lopez will more than likely serve as a backup utility infielder in Triple-A Tacoma.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Henry Q. Fan: "That guy right there just looks like a catcher."
Henrietta Q. Fan: "Which guy?"
Henry Q. Fan: "The guy catching."