After two blowout losses, a 3-3 tie Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers wasn’t the worst outcome for the Mariners. Especially when it came courtesy of a ninth-inning rally.
Ryan Casteel, promoted for the day from minor-league camp, delivered a one-out RBI double that erased a one-run deficit. The Mariners then had two chances to produce a walk-off victory before settling for a tie.
Two ground-outs meant the Mariners ended the day at 3-for-18 with runners in scoring position.
"We had a lot of opportunities with a man at second and nobody out today," manager Scott Servais said. "We just failed to move runners a little bit or get a big hit."
It was break-camp day for the Dodgers, so the clubs chose not to play extra innings. The Mariners (19-14-1) have games remaining Friday night and Saturday afternoon against Colorado before breaking camp.
Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma failed to complete two innings in his final spring start while laboring through 52 pitches. Only half were strikes.
"I know what I need to work on," he said. "I need to focus more on the mound."
Iwakuma wobbled through the first inning by allowing two singles and two walks, but he limited the damage to one run.
The Mariners answered with two runs later in the inning after Jean Segura drew a leadoff walk from Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
Segura scored on Nelson Cruz’s two-out RBI double, and Kyle Seager followed with an RBI single.
Iwakuma issued two more walks in the second inning before exiting after Yasmani Grandal’s two-out RBI single.
"He was not happy at all," Servais said. "He was really out of sync mechanically. He knew it even in the bullpen. He couldn’t get it going. It was best to get him out of there when we did."
Dan Altavilla ended the inning without further damage.
Kershaw worked through the third inning, with no further damage, before exiting.
It stayed 2-2 until Mike Ahmed’s two-out RBI double in the eighth inning on a full-count fastball from Emilio Pagan.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Left fielder Jarrod Dyson, in his first game since March 21, ended the first inning by throwing out Scott Van Slyke at the plate.
PLUS: Right-hander Dylan Unsworth, who is likely headed to Double-A Arkansas, pitched five scoreless innings. He has not allowed a run in 12 innings…Guillermo Heredia had a single and double in his two at-bats and raised his average to .355 (22-for-62).
MINUS: Right fielder Mitch Haniger went hitless in four at-bats, which dropped his average to .389 (28-for-72)…outfielder Ian Miller, a regular minor-league call-up, stole second in the eighth inning — his fifth steal — but he was then thrown out stealing third when his foot came off the base after beating the throw.
STAT PACK: Haniger’s 11 doubles are a Mariners spring record. Bruce Bochte (1978) and Darren Bragg (1996) held the previous record of 10.
QUOTABLE: Servais on Unsworth: "He’s had a great spring. No fear. He believes in his stuff. It’s not overpowering, but he knows how to pitch. He had a really good change-up. And much appreciated after the last couple of days."
SHORT HOPS: Rehabbing reliever Tony Zych threw a one-two-three inning on 10 pitches in a minor-league game against Double-A San Antonio of the San Diego system. It was his third one-inning appearance in his recovery from October surgery for a biceps tendon transfer.
UP NEXT: The Mariners have an open date Thursday before concluding their spring schedule with two games against Colorado.
The teams play at 6:40 p.m. Friday at Peoria Stadium and 12:10 p.m. Saturday at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. Both games will be televised by Root Sports Northwest and broadcast on 710 ESPN and mariners.com.
DAYS LEFT UNTIL OPENING DAY: Four.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners