PEORIA, Ariz. — Not a bad two days for the Mariners. One day after beating reigning World Series champion Kansas City, they rallied to beat the presumptive World Series champions.
Jesus Montero’s two-run single capped a three-run eighth inning Thursday that lifted the Mariners to a 10-8 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Peoria Stadium.
Montero’s single came after the Mariners erased a one-out deficit by drawing four (!) two-outs walks — two apiece from Andury Acevedo and Felix Pena.
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"The guys did a really good job of controlling the strike zone in the eighth inning," manager Scott Servais said. "We worked some deep counts. We laid off some tough pitches, and we got a big hit late.
"That’s what it takes some days."
The three-run burst came after the Mariners squandered leads of 3-0, 6-3 and 7-4. The Cubs rallied to an 8-7 lead by scoring twice in the seventh and eighth against minor-league relievers Emilio Pagan and Paul Fry.
Acevedo retired the first two batters in the eighth before Boog Powell and Chris Taylor drew walks. Pena replaced Acevedo and walked Shawn O’Malley and Dan Robertson before yielding Montero’s two-run single.
The Mariners (5-4) started the day by jumping Tacoma boy Jon Lester for three runs in the first inning. Nori Aoki beat out an infield single, and Luis Sardinas beat out a bunt.
Both runners advanced on Robinson Cano’s ground out. Stefen Romero followed with a two-run double and scored on Adam Lind’s double for a 3-0 lead.
The Cubs (1-8) got all three runs back in the second against Wade Miley.
Jorge Soler led off with a homer before Jelmer Candelario and Taylor Davis hit back-to-back doubles. Arismendy Alcantara tied the game with an RBI single.
The Mariners responded with three more runs in their second inning — aided by three Chicago infield errors. Sardinas and Romero contributed RBI singles.
Lester gave up six runs and seven hits in two innings.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Javier Baez yanked a sharp grounder over third on the second pitch of the game from Wade Miley. Ed Lucas made a nice stop, and first baseman Adam Lind picked the throw. Two good plays.
PLUS: Stefen Romero went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and is 8-for-14 overall with a club-leading 13 total bases…reliever Joaquin Benoit pitched a one-two-three fourth inning on 14 pitches…Luis Sardinas started at shortstop and reaches in his three plate appearances, two singles and a walk. He is batting .667 with 12 hits in 18 spring at-bats…Adam Lind had two doubles in three at-bats after entering the game at 1-for-7…Seth Smith had two singles in three at-bats and is 9-for-13.
MINUS: Sardinas and Shawn O’Malley were each thrown out in attempting to steal second base in fourth inning by Cubs catcher David Ross…Casey Coleman gave up a homer in his only inning and has allowed seven runs in four innings…Shortstop Chris Taylor multi-hopped a throw to plate in the eighth inning after taking a relay on the play in which the Cubs took an 8-7 lead.
STAT PACK: The crowd of 9,226 was the biggest of the spring for a Mariners’ game. The Cubs have played in front of six larger crowds in their previous eight games.
QUOTABLE: "I’m building up my pitch count and feeling good," said Mariners starter Wade Miley, who gave up three runs and four hits in three innings.
"That’s the main thing. I felt good. I felt the ball was coming out fine. Just a little (off in) location."
UP NEXT: The Mariners make their one trip to Old Scottsdale at 12:05 p.m. Pacific time Friday for a game against San Francisco. The game isn’t on television.
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma will make his second spring start, which completes the Mariners’ second cycle through their rotation.
Joel Peralta, Steve Cishek, Donn Roach, David Rollins and Tony Zych are also scheduled to pitch.
The Giants list Jeff Samardzija as their starting pitcher.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners