Mariners Insider Blog

Mariners 6, Cubs 4 - Morse sets Mariners record for spring training homers

The facts

The Chicago Cubs played their final game in HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa. It was fitting that the Mariners were the final opponent, since they were the Cubs first opponent in HoHoKam on Feb. 28, 1997. A crowd of 11,365 filled the place. Since that first game in 1997, the stadium has had 2,610,736 fans attend games. Unlike that first meeting, the Mariners prevailed.

Play of the game

Michael Morse set a Mariners record by hitting his ninth home run of the spring, eclipsing the record held by Mike Wilson (2009). Morse stayed on a fastball from Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva and ripped a line drive over the right field wall and into the visiting bullpen. The nine homers are the most in baseball. The Mariners now have 56 homers this spring in 32 games, the most since the Rays hit 56 in 2009.

Who was hot

Minor leaguer Nate Tenbrink continued to make the most of his playing time. After coming up with three-run double on Wednesday, Tenbrink had big hit again on Thursday. With the Mariners down 4-3 in the top of the eighth inning, Tenbrink singled to right off of lefty Hisanori Takahashi (above) to tie the game. Kelly Shoppach followed with a double down the line (below) to give the Mariners the lead for good

“Everybody down there (minor league) is high on him, that’s why we gave him the opportunity to come up here and he’s shown himself well,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He’s a good player.”

Who was not

Michael Saunders had rough day at the plate, going 0-for-5 with a strikeout, dropping his spring average to .210. But he did have a solid day in centerfield, making a pair of nice running catches.


“Everybody looks at him like he’s this big strong guy, and he is, but he’s a hitter first. If you watch his discipline and focus he has in batting practice, it’s obvious. Because of that, he’s able to take it into the game.” -- Wedge on Michael Morse.

On tap

The Mariners have today off as they travel to Salt Lake City. They will wrap up spring training play on Saturday at Spring Mobile Stadium against the Colorado Rockies. First pitch is set for 12:05 p.m. Brandon Maurer will get the start for Seattle. The game will be televised on ROOT Sports and broadcast 710-AM