When the Ides of March are really bad, you get Shakespeare. Prepare to settle for less. Besides, for the Mariners, what happened Wednesday wasn’t even close to their worst loss this week.
It wasn’t good, though. They ran out a collection of pitchers who generally appear ticketed to open the season in the minors and absorbed a 12-7 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Peoria Stadium.
Right-hander Chris Heston, who had been clean this spring through seven previous innings, gave up three runs and failed to make it through three innings.
With the exception of Casey Fien, who bolstered his candidacy for a bullpen job, it got no better as the Mariners offered up Jonathan Aro, Christian Bergman, Jean Machi, et al.
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"We’re getting to that point of spring training," manager Scott Servais said. "Not much pitching today…There were a few positives today but, on the pitching side, not a whole lot."
The Mariners (11-8) have lost three of their last four while being outscored 51-19 in that span.
Justin Turner opened the scoring against Heston by turning on a first-pitch fastball for a two-out homer in the first inning.
The Mariners answered with Ben Gamel’s two-run homer later in the inning after Jarrod Dyson’s leadoff single and steal but soon found they couldn’t keep pace.
Heston got two quick outs in the second inning before loading the bases with two walks sandwiched around a hit batter. He then fell behind 3-1 on Chase Utley before getting an inning-ending grounder to second.
No such luck in the third.
Andrew Toles off with a triple into the right-field corner and scored the tying run on Turner’s grounder to short. Trayce Thompson followed with a no-doubt homer to left.
The Dodgers led 3-2, and the Heston was done. He threw just 30 of 61 pitches for strikes in his 2 1/3 innings.
Leonys Martin pulled the Mariners even with a two-out homer in the fourth, but LA regained the lead with two runs in the fifth inning against Aro.
The Dodgers (12-8) put the game away with five runs in the sixth against Christian Bergman and cuffed Machi for two more runs in the eighth.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Dyson rescued the Mariners on a botched rundown play in the first inning.
The Mariners trapped Trayce Thompson on a steal between first and second. Heston threw to first baseman Dan Vogelbach, who threw to third baseman Kyle Seager (who was covering second in an overshifted defense.
When Seager dropped the ball, Thompson headed for an unguarded third base as shortstop Shawn O’Malley retrieved the ball. Dyson came in from left field, took the throw from O’Malley and applied the tag.
PLUS: Dyson had singles in each of his three at-bats, stole two bases and had that heads-up defensive play in the first inning. He is batting .344 at 11-for-32…Martin continues to show improving signs after a lengthy slump. He had a homer and a walk in three plate appearances after going 2-for-4 in Tuesday’s victory over the White Sox…Boog Powell had a triple in his only at-bat and is batting .545 at 12-for-22.
MINUS: No bat flips for Seager. He was hitless in three at-bats and is 2-for-13 in his last four games…Danny Valencia had a walk in three plate appearances. His average is down to .171 at 6-for-35…Tyler O’Neill played his first Cactus League game since March 4 and had a rough first defensive inning in right field; he committed an error and missed on a diving attempt at a sinking liner.
STAT PACK: Bergman entered camp as a strong candidate for the Triple-A Tacoma rotation but has now given up eight runs in five innings.
SPRING BATTLES: Fien bounced back strong from a disappointing outing Sunday against the Angels by working 1 2/3 scoreless innings…utilityman Mike Freeman had two doubles in three at-bats, but he also committed his fifth error…Malley started at short and went hitless in two at-bats. Freeman is 9-for-28; O’Malley is 10-for-32.
QUOTABLE: Martin on Mariners teammate Nelson Cruz getting thrown out stealing Tuesday in the World Baseball Classic: "He thinks he’s fast, and he's not."
SHORT HOPS: Other than Fien, the most encouraging pitching performance was rehabbing reliever Tony Zych in his first session of live batting practice. "He looked pretty healthy," Servais said. "We’ll keep our fingers crossed. He could be a nice piece for us."…right-hander Yovani Gallardo is back in camp after Mexico’s elimination in the World Baseball Classic. He will start against Arizona on Friday afternoon at Salt River Field in the first game of a split-squad doubleheader. Lefty Ariel Miranda will start the night game against the Dodgers in Glendale.
UP NEXT: The Mariners play four of their next five games on the road starting at 1:05 p.m. Thursday against Kansas City in Surprise.
Right-hander Chase De Jong is scheduled for four innings in his second start and third appearance since arriving in a March 1 trade from the Dodgers. Right-hander Cody Martin is also slotted for an extended outing.
The Royals plan to start former Mariners lefty Jason Vargas.
The only live coverage on the game is the radio broadcast on mariners.com. 710 ESPN has a delayed broadcast at 7 p.m. Root Sports Northwest is not televising the game.
DAYS LEFT UNTIL OPENING DAY: 18
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners