MARINERS 3, CUBS 0 (AT CUBS PARK)
The facts: Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez lowered his spring ERA to 0.96 by working six shutout innings Thursday against the Cubs. He’s allowed two earned runs in 18 2/3 innings in five games…A Cactus League-record crowd of 15,243 watched the game at Cubs Park.
Play of the game: Logan Morrison lost a two-run homer in the sixth inning when Cubs left fielder Junior Lake made a leaping catch at the wall. Lake banged his head against the wall but held onto the ball.
Plus: Closer Fernando Rodney worked a scoreless eighth after allowing eight runs in four innings in five previous games…Dustin Ackley went three for four and is batting batting .457 (21 for 46)… The Mariners got their first run when Abraham Almonte led off the fifth with a single, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch (same play) before scoring on Kyle Seager’s sacrifice fly…Lefty reliever Joe Beimel, out since March 8 because of arm soreness, retired three straight in the seventh inning…Robinson Cano was two for three with a walk. He is batting .567 at 17 for 30.
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Minus: Not much. Ramirez thought he got away with some pitches. “I was lucky, sometimes,” he said. “I missed the spots sometimes.”
Quotable: “As far as separation, I don’t think they’ve really separated themselves.” — manager Lloyd McClendon on the shortstop battle between Brad Miller and Nick Franklin.
Extra innings: Plans call for All-Star righty Hisashi Iwakuma to throw a ball Friday (albeit a tennis ball) for the first time since diagnosed Feb. 10 with a strained ligament in his middle finger. If all goes well, he’ll begin throwing a baseball on Monday…Felix Hernandez worked seven innings in a minor-league game to stay on his regular schedule. He gave up three runs (two earned) and five hits while striking out six and walking none.
Up next: The Mariners, having already clinched the complex title, play neighbor San Diego for fourth and final time at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Lefty James Paxton is slotted for the start against Padres righty Ian Kennedy. Root Sports will carry the game.