Win - J. Campillo (1-0)
Loss – R. Bukvich (0-1)
HR - NONE
PEORIA, Ari. – The perfect remedy for the Mariners batting woes came to town on Saturday – the Texas Rangers’ pitching staff. Seattle took advantage, as they so often have over the past decade against its American League West counterparts, with 15 hits in a well-played 8-3 win at Peoria Sports Complex.
Raul Ibanez led the hit parade with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, smacking a double and two singles while driving in a RBI. Ibanez, in his second season with the Mariners since coming over from Kansas City two winters ago, is one of three players on Seattle with a batting average of .500 this spring.
The others with that elite status include Ichiro Suzuki, who went 2-2 with a double on Saturday, and Greg Dobbs, who also had two hits in two at-bats.
Jose Lopez (.389) and Randy Winn (.333) had two hits apiece as well on the afternoon.
Seattle (2-8) broke open a close game with six runs in the sixth inning, five of which came off of Texas pitcher Ryan Bukvich. Bukvich lasted just two-thirds of an inning before giving way to Erasmo Ramirez, who got the final out after the majority of the damage had already been done.
Richie Sexson got things started in the big inning, picking up his first hit of the spring with a double off the center field wall. He scored on a single to left by Ibanez. Winn followed with a single, and Lopez drove him and Ibanez home with a 2-RBI double. Scott Spiezio then got in the hit parade with a double to right-center, and scored when Jamal Strong followed with a single of his own. The M’s weren’t done, as Dobbs tacked on another run with a pinch-hit triple that knicked the right field line and got lost in the corner.
By the time the smoke had cleared, it was 7-2 Seattle.
As great as the hitting was for the Mariners, the pitching was equally impressive. Bobby Madritsch got the start, and pitched three of the finest innings of any Mariners starter thus far in the spring. Madritsch displayed tremendous poise on the mound and located his pitches well, allowing only one base-runner while in the game. That came on a walk to Richard Hidalgo in the second.
Shigetoshi Hasegawa gave up one run in the fourth, and Jorge Campillo came in for two innings of work starting in the fifth. Campillo, making his first official appearance of the spring, showed great control of an array of off-speed pitches – namely a curveball. He gave up one run in two innings of work, calming down considerably after his first two pitches went for a double and single, respectively, to Mark DeRosa and Rod Barajas.
Matt Thornton walked two and allowed four hits in two innings and allow one run. Julio Mateo pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the win.
The Mariners play Texas again on Sunday at Surprise Stadium.
PLAY OF THE DAY:
BARE-HANDED BOBBY - Madritsch not only pitched three of the sharpest innings by any Mariners’ starter this spring, he helped himself get through the trio of frames unscathed with a fine defensive play. In the third inning, Rangers’ catcher Rod Barajas topped a high one-hopper to the backside of the mound and on the third base side of the hill. The left-handed Madritsch took three steps toward third base with his eye on the ball, scooped it with his bare left hand and fired to first to get Barajas easily for the second out in the inning. Madritsch got Gary Matthews to fly out to end the inning, and his outing, without surrendering a base hit.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
Raul Ibanez, DH - Ibanez continues to pound the baseball and raised his spring average to an even .500. The 32-year-old singled in the second, doubled and scored in the fourth with two outs, and drove in a run with a single in the sixth in the midst of the M’s big inning. Ibanez also stole two bases and is jumping all over anything that catches any part of the plate. Raul seems ready for April 4.
Jose Lopez, SS - Lopez had another strong day at the ballpark, both with the bat and with the glove. Starting at shortstop again for the ailing Pokey Reese, Lopez had two hits, two RBI and a solid day defensively. After his 2-for-4 afternoon, the 21-year-old is hitting .389 on the spring and is giving manager Mike Hargrove something to think about.
Bobby Madritsch, LHP - Clearly the brightest note of the day was Madritsch cruising through the first three innings and allowing just one baserunner, a walk to Richard Hidalgo in the second inning. Madritsch struck out one Rangers batter and threw 21 of his 35 pitches for strikes. Mixing his change, slider and the fastball with great success, the southpaw may be well on his way to cementing a starting role, if he hasn’t already. Madritsch has been the sharpest of any candidate for the starting rotation down in Arizona.
DEEP THOUGHTS, by InsidethePark.com
Bret Boone returned to the lineup Saturday after missing three days with back spasms. The M’s second baseman went 0-3 and watched his spring average drop to .083.
Greg Dobbs is tearing the cover off the baseball. After starting the spring 1-for-4, Dobbs is six for his last eight with four extra-base hits and three runs batted in. The left-handed hitting 26-year-old had two more hits Saturday and is now hitting .500 on the spring in 14 at-bats.
Catcher Ryan Christianson picked up his first hit of the spring in the eighth inning off of Rangers righty Josh Rupe. Christianson, the Mariners No. 1 pick out of Riverside, Calif. in 1999, is now 1-4 on the spring.
Ichiro added two more hits and is hitting a scalding .500 for the spring.
Left-hander Matt Thornton continued to struggle with his command Saturday. The former first-rounder gave up four hits and two walks, consistently falling behind hitters and failing to locate the fastball early in the count. Of Thornton’s 41 pitches, 35 were fastballs but just 20 were strikes.
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig was at the game, at least for a portion of it. He was seen wearing an Arizona Diamondbacks hat before leaving with a security guard by his side in the sixth inning.
Michael Morse won't make the big league club out of spring training, but one reason he hasn't been sent down yet is because of his quick start at the plate this March. Morse, a part of the Freddy Garcia trade with Chicago last June, is 3-6 with a double and a RBI in limited action.
Adrian Gonzalez, originally the No. 1 pick of the 2000 draft by the Florida Marlins, got in the game late and went 0-1 at the plate. He's batting .409 this spring.
Richie Sexson snapped an 0-18 skid at the plate with his double off the center field wall leading off the sixth inning. The 6-foot-8 slugger is batting .056 on the spring. While showing good patience at the plate, he's struggled to get his timing down after missing most of last season with a shoulder injury.
Righty Julio Mateo was sharp in his only inning of the day, needing just 11 pitches to dispose of the Rangers in a scoreless top of the ninth inning. Mateo was popping the glove at 91-92 mph with the fastball and started each batter off with strike one.
CAMPILLO SHOWS HIS STUFF
Right-hander Jorge Campillo threw two innings on Saturday, totalling 34 pitches. The 26-year-old was greeted with a sharp line drive and a bloop single from the first two batters he faced but yielded just one run in his first inning and settled down to retire four of the next five batters he faced.
Campillo caught the strike zone with 22 of his pitches, nine fastballs, nine changeups and four curve balls. After a shaky start, the Mexico native showed why the M's brass went to great lengths to get him in camp this spring to compete for a spot on the club's 25-man roster.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“That was on another level.” - University of Washington fan, affectionately known as the "rooster," at a local sports bar as he watched Huskies forward Hakeem Rollins double-clutch a key slam dunk in an 81-72 Washington victory in the Pac-10 Conference Tournament Championship game over the regional favorite Arizona Wildcats.