Brandon Maurer made another strong case for the starting rotation, pitching five shutout innings, giving up six hits and striking out seven batters, while walking one. For the spring, Maurer has allowed just two runs in 20 innings pitched. He also got plenty of run support with 16 runs on 16 hits, including two more home runs to push their major league leading total to 52 this spring. The 52 homers is a franchise record, snapping the previous record of 51 set in 1999.
Play of the game
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In the fourth inning, Jesus Montero drew a bases loaded walk off of Wilkin De La Rosa, which showed impressive patience for the free-swinging catcher. But in the fifth inning, Montero stepped to the plate against De La Rosa with vases loaded again, and there would be no walking – just home run trotting. Montero crushed a fastball deep to left field over the grass berm and out of Goodyear Ballpark for a grand slam. Montero, who was playing his first game since taking a bat to the head, went 3-for-3 with six RBI.
Who was hot
The solo homer
Well all of the Mariners hitters were hot, but Michael Saunders couldn’t be much hotter. The big outfielder ripped a single, double and homer in his first three at-bats. He didn’t hit for the cycle, but did score three runs. And drive in two more.
Not to be outdone, Justin Smoak went 3-for-3 with an two-run double (above) and an RBI single (below) and two walks. He pushed his batting average to .431 this spring.
Who was not
Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey got rocked by the Mariners. He pitched just 3 1/3 innings, allowing nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts. In two starts against the Mariners this spring, he’s allowed 12 runs and 15 hits in 7 1/3 innings.
“He’s more under control in batting practice. He has a better mindset of what he’s trying to do and a better focus when he’s doing his work. I think you are seeing that to start to leak in the game.” – manager Eric Wedge on Montero.
The Mariners return to Peoria Stadium to host the Kansas City Royals this afternoon. Right-hander Jeremy Bonderman will get the start for Seattle. Also scheduled to pitch are Danny Farquhar, Charlie Furbush, Tom Wilhelmsen, Kameron Loe, and Stephen Pryor. The Royals will start lefty Bruce Chen. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast locally on 710-AM.