The Mariners had just six hits in the game, but two of them were two-run homers. It was enough to secure their fourth straight Cactus League game of the season. Because they were playing two games on Sunday and with several players still participating in the World Baseball Classic, the Rangers’ split squad team that came to Peoria featured a line-up with only two big league regulars – Lance Berkman and Jeff Baker. Mariners starter Blake Beavan took advantage of the weaker line-up, cruising through six innings, giving up one run on three hits while striking out two and walking none
Play of the game
Kendrys Morales changed the game in one swing of the bat. With the Mariners down 3-2, Morales turned on a 2-2 slider from Wilmer Font and drove a line drive homer into the visiting bullpen in right field to provide the game-winning hit. It was Morales fourth homer of the season.
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Who was hot
Raul Ibanez continues to hit this spring. Facing Rangers closer Joe Nathan in the fourth inning, Ibanez ripped a 92 mph fastball deep into right field for a two-run homer. It was his third home run this spring. Ibanez went 1-for-3. His spring average is now .379. He also made a nice sliding catch on a lower liner in left field.
Who was not
Kameron Loe had been solid all spring. But the big reliever struggled in his one inning of work. Loe came in to protect a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning and couldn’t hold it. He walked the lead-off hitter and things went south from there. He ended up giving up two runs on two hits.
“I want to be a complete line-up this year. There’s a chance that’s where he’s going to hit as we put this thing together. It doesn’t matter where he hits. It’s just about him getting on track.” --- Mariners manager Eric Wedge on batting Dustin Ackley eighth on Sunday.
Jason Bay went 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base, while playing the whole game in right field. … Cactus League rules require that teams playing split squad games must included at least three every day regulars in the starting line-up. However because of the World Baseball Classic, that rule is suspended. … Former Inglemoor standout and one-time all-star reliever Evan Meek pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts for the Rangers. … The Mariners wore green caps to honor St. Patrick’s Day. … Attendance for the game was 8,478.
The Mariners travel to Phoenix Municipal Stadium to take on the Oakland A’s. Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma will get the start for Seattle. Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge and Stephen Pryor are also scheduled to pitch. The A’s will start right-hander A.J. Griffin. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. There will be no local radio broadcast of the game.