For the second time in less than 24 hours, the Mariners started a projected member of the Triple-A Tacoma rotation Wednesday to avoid a big-league starter face a division opponent late in camp.
It didn’t go well. Again.
Right-hander Cody Martin allowed six runs in 2 2/3 innings in a 9-8 loss to a Los Angeles Angels split squad at Peoria Stadium. On Tuesday night, Chris Heston gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings in an 8-5 loss to Oakland.
"Cody usually does a really good job of attacking the strike zone and throwing strikes," manager Scott Servais said. "Today, he was just off and behind in a lot of counts. Not a typical Cody Martin outing."
The Angels loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning but settled for one run when Martin got Jefry Marte to ground into a double play.
Martin nearly escaped a first-and-third jam with no outs in the second — nearly. He got two outs before Ben Revere and Eric Young Jr. hit homers on successive pitches.
The Angels led 5-0.
Martin exited after a two-out walk in the third inning pushed his pitch count to 67, but Darin Gillies gave up an RBI double before ending the inning. The run was charged to Martin.
The margin climbed to 7-0 when Marte led off the fifth with a line-hugging homer to left against Nick Vincent.
The Mariners, meanwhile, managed just one hit in 3 2/3 innings against LA starter Yusmeiro Petit and didn’t score until Jean Segura’s two-run homer in the sixth inning against Kirby Yates.
Lefty relief candidate James Pazos gave those runs back immediately in a two-run seventh, which included an RBI double by Dustin Ackley, once a cornerstone of the Mariners’ rebuilding plan.
The Mariners (15-10) closed the gap to 9-5 when Nelson Cruz and Danny Valencia ignited a three-run seventh with back-to-back doubles. The Mariners scored three runs in the eighth, in part, by capitalizing on an error.
That was it, though. They went quietly in the ninth.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Center fielder Leonys Martin took extra bases away from Shane Robinson by making a sliding catch on a sinking liner in the sixth inning.
PLUS: Lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski had a sixth straight scoreless one-inning appearance…the Mariners got extra-base hits from seven different players.
MINUS: Vincent has allowed five homers in 5 2/3 innings…Robinson Cano and Taylor Motter were hitless in three at-bats.
STAT PACK: Right-hander Yovani Gallardo dropped down to a minor-league game to avoid facing a division opponent and gave up three runs and four hits, including two homers, in 4 2/3 innings against Hi-A Wilmington in the Kansas City system. Gallardo struck out seven and walked one.
SPRING BATTLES: Pazos gave up two runs in 1 2/3 innings. It marked only the second time in eight spring outings that he allowed a run. Servais noted: "A four-pitch walk on the first hitter you face" Those are important things that you want to see get tightened up at this point in the spring."
QUOTABLE: Servais said he isn’t concerned by Vincent’s rough spring: "It’s tough for him and how he pitches. He pitches up in the zone. He’s a fly-ball pitcher, and it hasn’t worked out so great for him this spring.
"But he’s healthy. He feels fine. We just have to keep him in the right frame of mind."
SHORT HOPS: Closer-on-leave Edwin Diaz turned 23 on Wednesday…when Cruz exited the game for a pinch-runner after a leadoff double in the seventh inning, Segura and Robinson Cano stood on the dugout’s top step and pantomimed reeling Cruz in…
UP NEXT: Felix Hernandez makes his first start since returning from the World Baseball Classic in a 6:05 p.m. game against the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale. He is scheduled to pitch six innings.
Relievers Nick Hagadone and Casey Fien are also ticketed to pitch. The Giants plan to start left-hander Matt Moore.
Root Sports Northwest is not carrying the game, but it can be heard on 710 ESPN and mariners.com.
DAYS LEFT UNTIL OPENING DAY: 11.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners