At some point since working two scoreless innings in the spring opener, Mariners lefty Ariel Miranda must have taken another look at the club’s projected roster.
After that earlier outing, Miranda was quick to express his preference to pitch this season as a starter rather than shift to the bullpen. The problem: the Mariners’ projected five-man rotation doesn’t include Miranda.
Miranda allowed one tainted run Thursday over three innings in a 6-2 victory over Milwaukee and, afterward, reconsidered the starter/reliever question.
"My goal is to be in the major leagues," he said. "Doing what job doesn’t matter."
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Miranda remains the likeliest choice to serve as the bullpen’s second lefty.
As for the game, the Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning by capitalizing on a one-out sun double to left by Ivan De Jesus Jr. It moved Scooter Gennett to third, and he then scored on Brett Phillips’ sacrifice fly.
Nelson Cruz’s leadoff double in the fourth inning led to the tying run. Pinch-runner Ben Gamel scored on Carlos Ruiz’s one-out single.
Gamel’s two-out RBI single in the fifth, on a grounder through the right side, gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead. Boog Powell’s two-out RBI single through the left side in the sixth added another run.
Guillermo Heredia’s two-run single, with two outs, highlighted a three-run seventh that boosted the lead to 6-1.
The Mariners improved to 5-1.
PLAY OF THE GAME: On a day when the sun bedeviled left fielders on both clubs, shortstop Jean Segura battled his way through a high pop by Manny Pina to short left for a catch in the fourth inning.
PLUS: Cruz had a double in two at-bats and is now 5-for-8 this spring with two doubles and two homers…Ruiz has singles in both of his at-bats after going hitless in four previous at-bats…Jarrod Dyson started in center field for the first time and had a single and a walk in three plate appearances.
MINUS: Utilityman Taylor Motter ole’d a hard-hit grounder to third base in the fifth inning. It was scored a single…left fielder Tyler O’Neill went hitless in three at-bats and lost a fly in the sun, which led to a run…Powell dropped a fly in center field to start the ninth inning. That one wasn't the sun. The ball just popped out.
STAT PACK: The Mariners had 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position and delivered five hits…the six Mariners pitchers combined to issue just two walks. That makes 11 walks in 52 innings over five games.
SPRING BATTLES: Reliever Shae Simmons had a one-two-three fourth inning…utilityman Shawn O’Malley started at second and hitless in three at-bats…Heredia had a two-run single in his only at-bat and is 7-for-12 with seven RBIs…Gamel went 1-for-2 with a walk and is 5-for-15.
QUOTABLE: Cruz started in right field, which prompts a question: How often might that happen in the regular season?
"I don’t want to put a number on it," Servais said. "I’ll kind of play it by ear. I want to make sure he’s still capable of doing it. He wants to be able to do it."
Cruz started just 48 games last season in the outfield after starting 80 in 2015.
UP NEXT: Veteran right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma makes his spring debut when the Mariners travel Friday to Surprise for a 12:10 p.m. Pacific time game against the Texas Rangers.
Ryan Weber, Dillon Overton, Christian Bergman, Nick Vincent, Marc Rzepczynski and Dan Altavilla are also scheduled to pitch. Texas lists right-hander Tyler Wagner as its starter.
DAYS LEFT UNTIL OPENING DAY: 31
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners