MARINERS 9, ROYALS 6 (AT SURPRISE STADIUM)
The facts: The Mariners nicked Royals veteran Bruce Chen for single runs in the first two innings before Stefen Romero’s two-run homer ignited a five-run third inning.
Play of the game: Felix Hernandez tuned up for his start on opening night by working five innings. He gave up three runs and five hits. He also struck out six, walked none and pronounced himself ready for Monday’s opener against the Angels in Anaheim.
Plus: Mike Zunino marked his 23rd birthday with a game-tying homer with two outs in the second inning…Romero had three hits in five at-bats…Brad Miller went three for four with two doubles and raised his average to .436 (24 for 55)…Carson Smith maintained his 0.00 ERA (in 8 1/3 innings) by by working a one-two-three eighth.
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Minus: Reliever Ramon Ramirez didn’t help his already-slim roster chances by allowing two runs in the ninth. He’s allowed 10 runs and 11 hits in 7 2/3 innings…Kyle Seager is batting .175 (11 for 63) after going hitless in three at-bats.
Quotable: “I think you’re looking anywhere, optimistically, from the second (week) to end of the month.” — general manager Jack Zduriencik on the projected availability of injured pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker, Brandon Maurer and Stephen Pryor.
Extra innings: Nick Franklin started at second base and shifted to right field in the seventh inning. Manager Lloyd McClendon characterized it as “just tinkering.”….Romero started in right and shifted to first base in the seventh — and immediately made a nice leaping catch on Lorenzo Cain’s leadoff liner.
Health updates: Walker (shoulder), Pryor (back) and Maurer (back) continued their recovery from injuries by pitching in the same minor-league camp game. Fernando Rodney and Joe Beimel were also among those who saw action…Plans call for right fielder Corey Hart to test his ailing back Wednesday and Thursday in minor-league games to maximize at-bats.
Up next: The Mariners head back Wednesday to Surprise to play the complex’s other tenant — the Texas Rangers. And note the early start: 12:05 p.m. Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez makes his final spring tune-up for what projects as a start in the second game of the season, April 1 against the Angels.