THE FACTS: The Mariners ran out what projects as their lineup for their Vedder Cup matchup Tuesday against San Diego…and it didn’t go well. Primarily because J.A. Happ took a beating over 3 2/3 innings.
Happ breezed through first inning before giving up three runs in the second and three more in the third. He exited with two outs and runners at second and third in the fourth. He gave up eight hits and three walks.
“The result was ugly," Happ said. “They poked a few through, and then they got the big hit. I don’t think it was an absolute disaster. I certainly could have been sharper.”
Point of comparison: Felix Hernandez gave up six runs in 2 2/3 innings to the Cubs on Saturday in Mesa.
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PLAY OF THE GAME: Catcher Mike Zunino temporarily saved a run in the second inning by smothering a Happ pitch in the dirt with runners at first and third.
PLUS: Austin Jackson and Seth Smith, the top two hitters in the lineup, went 2-for-3. Jackson opened the game by lining a first-pitch double into the right-center gap. Smith followed with an RBI single. Smith hit his first spring homer in his next at-bat. Jackson had a two-out RBI single in his third at-bat…Fernando Rodney and Tom Wilhelmsen each pitched one scoreless inning. Wilhelmsen worked out of a two-on, two-out jam by striking out Ramiro Pena.
MINUS: Left fielder Dustin Ackley fueled San Diego’s three-run second inning by overrunning a ground single through the left side with the bases loaded…First baseman Logan Morrison dropped a two-out foul pop that would have ended the third inning…Robinson Cano struck out twice and hit a weak hopper back to the mound in his three at-bats.
JOB BATTLES: Veteran relievers Mark Lowe and Joe Saunders each had clean outings. Lowe retired all four batters faced after replacing Happ with two on and two outs in the fourth. Saunders pitched around a two-out single by former Mariner Abraham Almonte in the eighth. Saunders hasn’t allowed a run over 3 1/3 innings in his last three outings.
QUOTABLE: Smith had an RBI single and a homer against former Padres teammate Andrew Cashner. Asked if familiarity helped, Smith said: “You probably know guys that you’ve played against more than you would (former teammates).
“Standing in the outfield, it’s hard to see. You know what he throws, but you don’t know what it looks like when you’re at the plate.”
EXTRA INNINGS: The Mariners now hold a 2-1 edge in the Vedder Cup with one game remaining — Sunday — against complex co-tenant San Diego…The Mariners fell below .500 overall at 9-10-2 with 11 games remaining.
UP NEXT: The Mariners play under the lights Wednesday when they meet the Chicago Cubs at 7:05 p.m. at Peoria Stadium.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker carries a streak of 12 scoreless innings into his fifth spring start, while the Cubs list lefty Travis Wood as their starter.