THE FACTS: The amped-up heart of the Mariners’ order — Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager — debuted Thursday by going a combined 6-for-9 with three runs and three RBIs.
Pat Kivlehan put the game away with a three-run homer in a four-run eighth inning as the Mariners improved to 2-0 with another victory over complex co-tenant San Diego.
Mariners starter Roenis Elias pitched two scoreless innings, which matched Taijuan Walker’s effort in Wednesday’s opener. The two are battling for the rotation’s final spot.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Cruz hit a high pop to left in the third inning against Ian Kennedy that turned into two-run homer when the ball stayed just fair. The homer followed Cano’s leadoff double and broke a 1-1 tie.
PLUS: Seager flashed his Gold Glove form by turning his first two defensive chances into double plays…First baseman Logan Morrison had two hits in three at-bats…Right fielder Seth Smith threw out Wil Myers, who tried to go from first to third on a single in the third innings…Lucas Luetge started his bid to win a bullpen job by working 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
MINUS: Reliever Charlie Furbush surrendered a two-run homer to Will Venable on a left-on-left matchup in the fifth…Reliever Danny Farquhar gave up three hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. He exited after 30 pitches…Lefty reliever Joe Saunders wobbled through the ninth by giving up two hits and a walk but limited the damage to one run…The spring’s first sun ball victimized left fielder Dustin Ackley for a double on Brett Wallace’s two-out fly in the second inning.
QUOTABLE: “Ugly finder,” Mike Zunino said. “You can’t fix ugly.” Zunino was hit by the first pitch he saw after leading the American League last year when hit by 17 pitches.
EXTRA INNINGS: Justin Germano threw one pitch, a called strike, to finish the third inning after replacing Farquhar with a 2-2 count on Will Middlebrooks…The Mariners hold a 2-0 lead in the annual Vedder Cup. The two Peoria-based clubs play twice more this spring…The Mariners finished with nine runs and 15 hits but were just 4-for-17 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base.
UP NEXT: Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez gets the start Friday when the Mariners journey away from Peoria Stadium for the first time this spring for a game against a Los Angeles Dodgers split squad in Glendale.
The Dodgers are expected to start left-hander David Huff.