Eva Knott 10:44 a.m., May 18
Padres beat Mariners 9-3 in charity game opener to spring training
The San Diego Padres got off to a quick start and beat the Seattle Mariners on Friday afternoon in Peoria, Arizona to begin the spring training schedule in Cactus League play
Jedd Gyorko certainly made a fast impression on the Padres coaching staff on Friday afternoon in Peoria, belting a grand slam off of Seattle Mariners pitcher Hector Noesi as San Diego beat the Mariners 9-3 in the annual charity game to kick off spring training. In all, the Padres posted six runs in the first inning – including Gyorko’s bases-clearing blast to left field, which was more than enough to hold down Seattle in the Peoria Sports Complex which the two teams share in Arizona.
The Padres started pitcher Sean O’Sullivan, who began 2012 in the Kansas City Royals organization before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. O’Sullivan has major league experience with the Los Angeles Angels and the Royals between 2009 and 2011. Throwing two innings, and other than hitting Mariners catcher Jesus Montero with a pitch, O’Sullivan was flawless.
The first inning started when Everth Cabrera drew a walk and then Will Venable reached on an error. Chris Denorfia then singled home Cabrera for the first run of the game. After Yonder Alonso flied out, Kyle Blanks walked and the bases were loaded, setting the table for Gyorko.
On a two ball and one strike count from Noesi, Gyorko pulled the next pitch and put it over the left field wall, clearing the bases and staking the Padres to a 5-0 lead. Travis Buck then doubled, and James Darnell singled, putting Buck at third base.
Rene Rivera struck out, and after Everth Cabrera drew his second walk of the inning to load the bases again, Noesi then walked Will Venable to score another run. Before the Mariners even came to the plate for the first time, the Padres led 6-0.
That lead held up until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Adys Portillo took the mound for the Padres. Francisco Martinez led off with a double, and Alex Liddi grounded out, moving Martinez to third base. Portillo then uncorked a wild pitch and Martinez scored to make it 6-1, Padres.
The Padres added a few runs in the ninth inning for good measure. Yeison Asencio and Jonathan Galvez led off with back-to-back singles, and then advanced to second and third base on a passed ball. Jeudy Valdez then doubled to left field scoring Asencio and Galvez.
Kyle Blanks hit an infield single, and Valdez took third. Alexi Amarista then grounded out, but Valdez scored and the Padres went into the bottom of the ninth inning leading the Mariners 9-1.
Brandon Kloess took the hill for the Padres in the bottom of the ninth inning, and with one out walked Carlos Peguero. After striking out Eric Thames, Kloess gave up a home run to Casper Wells, but that was all that Seattle could manage, and the Padres pulled out a 9-3 victory.
O’Sullivan got the win with his two innings of work, while Noesi took the loss. Thad Weber went two innings for the Padres as well, along with Adys Portillo and Miles Mikolas after Weber, while Kloess tossed the ninth inning.
This marks the 45th spring training for the Padres, and the 20th in Peoria after many years in Yuma (ugh, Yuma). The Padres will play a total of 37 spring training games in 2013, a record for the club. But with 67 players on the roster for spring training, camp will not lack for a want of players.
Saturday, pitcher Tyson Ross will get the start as the Padres will again face the Mariners in Peoria. Wilfredo Boscan, Arturo Lopez, Johnny Barbato, Brad Boxberger, Tommy Layne, and Matt Stites are also slated to see action off of the mound. Pay close attention to Boxberger this spring, as he is probably the most likely candidate as closer once that Huston Street decides to hang up his bull pen song. Boxberger looks and acts the part, has excellent stuff, and a closer’s attitude. Hell’s Bells? Perhaps one day soon.