Brendan Ryan doubles to right …
It got a little interesting at the end with Mariners’ reliever Bobby LaFromboise giving up two runs in the ninth, but Seattle hung on to win its ninth-straight Cactus League game. The home run parade also continued as Kendrys Morales (above) and Jesus Montero both hit dingers in the win. That gives the Mariners 22 homers in 10 games – the most of any team in baseball this spring. Lefty Joe Saunders looked solid in his two innings of shutout work allowing one hit and walking one.
Play of the game
Mariners manager Eric Wedge was blunt about Jesus Montero’s two-run homer off of Justin Grimm in the third inning.
“That’s probably the best at-bat I’ve ever seen him have,” Wedge said. “Against a guy that was throwing it pretty good with good stuff, he ended up winning it and winning it in a big way.”
Down 1-2 in the count, Montero fouled off three pitches, didn’t bite on a fastball up in the zone and then crushed a 93-mph fastball onto the berm in left-center over the 379 foot sign.
Who was hot
Besides his two-run homer, Montero also ripped a two-run double down the left-field line and looked much better running the bases. The overall intensity from Montero was something that pleased Wedge.
“I felt like the last couple games both offensively and behind the plate that his play has been considerably different,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “I think it’s been very noticeable. That’s the way he needs to play always.”
Who was not
Hector Noesi had a minimal chance to make the Mariners. Blessed with great talent, but frustratingly inconsistent on the mound, the right-hander struggled in his third outing of the spring. Noesi allowed two runs on five hit and walked two batters. If not for a nice double play to get out of his first inning of work, it could have been worse. He now has a 14.73 earned run average this spring.
“That’s Joe Saunders. This guy knows how to pitch. He knows what he wants to do with the baseball. He knows how to add and subtract and move the ball around. The name of the game is keeping these guys off balance and that’s what he does.” – Eric Wedge
Felix Hernandez threw a modified simulated game on Sunday morning. He threw 39 pitches and worked two innings. The only solid contact came with a line drive to center by 19-year-old minor league Gabriel Guerrero – the nephew of Vlad Guerrero.
“It was fine,” Hernandez said. “I feel pretty good. It was different, because I sat down and then came back and pitched one more inning. It felt the same, felt pretty good.”
Hernandez will start his first Cactus League game on Thursday. Wedge hadn’t decided whether it will be against Kansas City or Oakland – both are road games.
Mariners infielder Brad Miller ripped a line drive back up the middle that struck the left, throwing wrist of Rangers’ pitcher Martin Perez. It was a vicious hit and Perez left the game immediately and was going to get x-rays. Perez was projected to be a starter in the Rangers rotation.
“You never want to see that happen to any team,” Wedge said.
It’s a big day for Mariners fans with the first live television broadcast of the team this spring. ROOT sports will carry today’s game against the Colorado Rockies. There will be an outstanding pitching lineup for fans. Jon Garland will make his second start of the spring. Also slated to pitch are top prospects Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker, Tom Wilhelmsen, Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps. First pitch is set for 12:05 p.m.
Mike Zunino’s double to the gap ….