Dave Rice 1:03 p.m., June 19
Mariners beat Padres 8-6 to force rubber game
The Mariners homered three times to hold off the Padres 8-6 in Cactus League play on Saturday
Saturday’s game between the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres in Peoria was a mostly contest of 2-run home runs. Unfortunately for the Padres, they could only manage one of those home runs while Seattle hit three of them and the Mariners went on to beat the Padres 8-6.
With Tyler Ross on the mound for the Padres in the top of the first inning, Franklin Gutierrez drew a lead-off walk, and one out later, Jason Bay smacked a home run and the Mariners jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Mariners starter Blake Beavan was flawless, and the score remained the same until the fifth inning.
Brad Boxberger relieved Wilfredo Buscan for the Padres in the top of the fifth, and with two outs, walked Jason Bay and then gave up a blast to right field as Justin Smoak smacked a home run onto the grassy knoll over the right field fence and the Mariners led 4-0. And the Padres had no offensive response until the bottom of the sixth inning.
With two outs, Jesus Guzman walked and then Jeudy Valdez doubled off of the wall to drive in Guzman and the Padres were on the board. Unfortunately, the Padres gave up some more runs to the Mariners after that.
In the top of the seventh inning with Arturo Lopez on the mound for the Padres, Julio Morban and Jesus Peguero hit back-to-back singles, putting runners on first and third base with one out. Eric Thames then hit into a force-out but Morban scored and the Mariners opened up a 5-1 lead.
And, the Mariners added on again in their half of the eighth inning. John Hicks opened the inning with a single and then Jesus Sucre walked, and Vinnie Catricala singled and Hicks scored and the Mariners led 6-1.
The Mariners ninth would see them hit their third 2-run homer. With Matt Stites on the mound for the Padres, Eric Thames walked with one out and Mike Jacobs popped a home run, and the Mariners took a 8-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning.
But the Padres weren’t finished. In fact, they made it interesting in the last frame. Jhonny Nunez took the hill for the Mariners and immediately ran into problems. Kyle Blanks doubled and then Jeudy Valdez remained perfect at the plate in the pre-season by smacking a home run to left field, and the Padres trailed 8-3.
Valdez has two doubles and a home run in three at-bats.
Edinson Rincon reached on an error by the catcher for the Mariners, and then after one out, Jason Hagerty singled, driving Rincon to third base. Jonathon Galvez pinch-ran for Hagerty, and after Jaff Decker struck out, Austin Hedges came up and reached on an error, scoring Rincon, and the Padres trailed by four runs.
Jedd Gyorko then came to the plate and hit a bloop that fell in, scoring Galvez and Hedges, and the Padres closed to within two runs. But James Darnell hit into a ground out and the Padres rally fell short. The rubber game of this three-game set will be completed on Sunday.
Most of the early spring training games are scripted, with pitchers and position players charted to come in and out in order to get some time in these Cactus League games. The idea is to get players a certain amount of work, at a pace. Think nothing of the massive changes that occur mid-game, they have little to do with the game itself. It’s always nice to win your spring training games, but that is secondary to getting the players into playing shape for the regular season. Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin will play soon enough, but you don’t pinch-hit them in Peoria in February, you need these guys in August.
The rubber game of this series is on Sunday, when Freddy Garcia is expected to start in Peoria. Other slated pitchers for the Padres include Casey Kelly, Dale Thayer, Luke Gregerson, Fautino De Los Santos, Daniel Stange, and Kevin Quackenbush. Game time is at 12:05 PST, and the contest can be heard on radio 1090 AM.