The key point Tuesday, from the Mariners’ point of view, is that Felix Hernandez looked sharp in his two-inning tune-up for opening day.
Most everything else in their 15-6 loss to Arizona at Peoria Stadium can be regarded as late-spring noise. Loud noise at times. But still noise. White noise at that.
Hernandez worked only two innings and needed just 24 pitches despite recording four strikeouts. He missed up on one pitch, and the result was a Brandon Drury homer with two outs in the first inning.
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It was something of a Cactus League homer but, as Hernandez admitted, "it was a mistake." Other than that, the King was dominant.
"I feel really good," he said. "I feel like the pitches are there. I’m ready to go. I’m ready for Monday. I’m ready for the Astros."
Drury’s homer was one of six surrendered by Mariners pitchers.
"A rough one today," manager Scott Servais said. "Felix was really good. That was the highlight of the day. He’s in a really good spot…Defense? Not so good. Bullpen was shaky. Not a lot of good things after that."
Casey Fien yielded two bombs in a rough five-run fourth inning. Lefty Dean Kiekhefer, a matchup specialist, gave up one to Jake Lamb, a left-handed hitter, in the fifth.
Jonathan Aro served up a moonshot off the batter’s eye to David Peralta in the sixth inning before minor-league call-up Joe Pistorese gave up a three-run shot to Nick Ahmed in a five-run eighth inning.
A lot of yardage.
The Mariners (19-14) collected six runs and 13 hits, including three runs in four innings against Arizona ace Zack Greinke, but couldn’t match the D-Backs’ output in absorbing a second straight blow-out loss.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Second baseman Robinson Cano dropped Yasmany Tomas’ one-out pop in the fourth inning while attempting a basket catch after a long run. It opened the door to a five-run inning.
PLUS: Shortstop Jean Segura went 3-3 against his former club and raised his average to .324 (12-for-37)…right fielder Mitch Haniger, another former Diamondback, went 2-for-3 and raised his average to .412 (28-for-68)…catcher Mike Zunino went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. He is batting .365 (13-for-36)…reliever Dan Altavilla avoided the carpet bombing absorbed by the rest of the bullpen. He pitched a scoreless seventh inning with two strikeouts…first baseman Danny Valencia shook off a recent slump by getting two hits in four at-bats.
MINUS: Fien wasn’t helped by his defense in his two innings, but he allowed two homers and six hits. He gave up six runs, including three unearned runs…center fielder Leonys Martin lost Peralta’s two-out fly in the sun in the third inning. The result was an RBI triple…Taylor Motter starter at third base and went hitless in four at-bats.
STAT PACK: The Mariners have been outscored 213-198 in their 33 games.
QUOTABLE: Tuesday’s loss followed Monday’s 12-2 beating by San Diego. Servais said: "You don’t like getting just pummeled like that a couple of days in a row. It’s a little rough."
SHORT HOPS: Left fielder Jarrod Dyson should return Wednesday to the first time since March 21. He tested his "fatigued" hamstring Tuesday by running after getting 10 at-bats (but not running) Monday in minor-league games.
UP NEXT: The Mariners continue the final spring cycle through their rotation when rotation when right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma pitches two-to-three innings at 1:10 p.m. Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers plan to start lefty Clayton Kershaw, who won the National League Cy Young Award in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
The Mariners hit three home runs while scoring four runs in five innings against Kershaw on March 17 in a 5-2 victory over Dodgers in Glendale.
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and mariners.com.
DAYS LEFT UNTIL OPENING DAY: Five.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners