Top of 1st
Ichiro leads off with a single, advances to second on a wild pitch from CJ Wilson. He advances to third on Chone Figgins grounder to short. He later scored on Milton Bradley's ground ball up the middle. Bradley really hustled down the line and nearly beat it out. It drew a large ovation from a mostly Mariner crowd here in Surprise.
It wasn't an exciting way to score a run, but that's how the M's are going to have do it this season.
Bottom of 1st
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Cliff Lee and Julio Borbon had a nice little battle to start the game. He got Borbon 0-2 on two pitches, and then Borbon battled him and battled him, fouling off pitches before he lined out hard to Ichiro in right. It was a 12 pitch AB. Lee then gave up a sharp single through the left side to Esteban German, but then struck out David Murphy and Vlad Guerrero to bounce out.
Lee threw 21 pitches in the first inning - 17 of them were strikes.
Top of 2nd
Mariners go down in order.
Bottom of 2nd
Lee gives up a lead-off walk to Chris Davis but Lee erases that when he gets Mitch Moreland to ground out to second for a very fast 4-6-3 double play. It's not even comparable the difference of having Figgins at 2B. Lee gives up a single to Joaquin Arias, but then gets Taylor Teagarden to ground out. He faced five hitters, but needed just 12 pitches - 8 of which were strikes - to get out of the inning.
He' sat 33 pitches with 25 them strikes. He may go another inning it appears.
Top of 3rd
The Mariners manufacture another run as Josh Wilson draws a lead-off walk, advances to second on Wilson's second wild pitch of the game. Jack Wilson then moves him over with a grounder to second base and Ichiro drives him in with a sac fly to center ... Mariners baseball: it's manufacturing runs!
Chone Figgins keeps the inning alive by reaching on an error, but he thrown out trying to steal second a few pitches later. I have that part in italics because really Figgins was safe on the play. It was a terrible call. But oh well.
Bottom of 3rd
Lee gives up an infield single tp Ray Olmedo on soft roller to second that Figgins can't come up with to start the inning. Borbon singles, giving them runners on first and third. Lee then gets German to ground into a double play, that allows a run to score. David Murphy singles softly up the middle, but Lee gets Guerrero to pop out to end the inning.
After three innings, he's allowed 5 hits, given up one run, walked one hitter, struck out one. He's thrown 47 pitches with 38 of them strikes.
Top of 4th
Neftali Feliz is in throwing gas. He struck out Milton Bradley, gave up a double to Mike Sweeney -- his ninth hit this spring -- but then struck out Casey Kotchman and Franklin Gutierrez. His fastball was right around 95-96
Bottom of 4th
Lee is done for the day. Here's his final line --- 3 innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 strikeout, 1 walk --- they amended the pitch count to 46 pitches, 36 of them for strikes. Sean White is in the game for the Mariners. White gets a ground ball out, gives up a single and then gets Arias to hit into 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Top of 5th
Feliz is still throwing gas. He threw a 98 mph fastball to Josh Wilson, who dumped it into right for a single. Jack Wilson follows that up by blooping a double into left on a 3-2 count. But Chone Figgins as he is known to do, doesn't wave at any of Feliz's fastballs that are out of the zone and he draws a walk. It brought up Milton Bradley, who was hit in the foot by a pitch to score a run. Mike Sweeney then continued his torrid spring, by ripping a Feliz pitch over the head of Mitch Moreland in right off the wall to clear the bases for a three-run double. That's his 10th hit of the spring.
The Mariners lead 6-1
From the clubhouse
Ok we missed a little bit of time to go down to the clubhouse. ... Cliff Lee was obviously very happy.
"I walked one guy and I wasn't really happy with that, but other than that I felt like I threw a lot of strikes and used all of my pitches," Lee said.
Lee will make his next start Monday in Tucson, and he'll probably be around 60 pitches for a pitch count.
"I felt a lot better today," Lee said. "I wasn't as erratic. The other day I was trying to throw a fastball away to a left-handed hitter and I hit him."
Lee said he was trying to establish fastball command. And said that it was good enough where he was able to use his other pitches more than expected.
Milton Bradley was in the clubhouse as well, but declined to speak with reporters.
Mike Sweeney was also there and was obviously upbeat about his game. He credited hitting coach Alan Cockrell for his success.
"I feel pretty good," Sweeney said. "I owe a lot to him. He's really emphasized to all of us to slow the game down. Like the kid having 98, just trying to slow it down to 88."
Exactly how do you do that?
"I think it's just starting early," Sweeney said. "Just trying to slow that ball down. That first pitch (Feliz) threw me, I felt so slow up there. I remember looking up at the radar gun because I thought maybe it was a change-u, but I look up and it said 94. I felt really slow."
Sweeney said he started it last year in Detroit, and things picked up from last year.
"I've just carried that into this spring," Sweeney said.
So let's catch up the game ...
Bottom of 7th
It's still 6-1, after the seventh as Mike Carp made a nice diving catch on a line drive.
Anthony Varvaro pitched a scoreless fifth for the M's allowing a walk and striking out a batter. Luke French pitched the sixth and seventh, getting into minor jams and allowing three hits, but getting out of both innings scoreless.