The Mariners kicked off their Cactus League play this weekend in a three-game series against their long-time spring training rivals, the San Diego Padres.
Game 1: Padres 9, Mariners 3
Hector Noesi would have you believe that this was an atrocious first game for the Mariners. And, looking at the first inning, it was. Backed by a fielding error from Raul Ibanez, Noesi tossed 42 pitches to the first 11 batters, allowing 4 hits, 4 walks, and a grand slam to San Diego’s Jedd Gyorko. When Eric Wedge sent Oliver Perez in for some damage control, the Mariners were already dealing with a 6-0 deficit.
Thankfully, spring training is all about exercising that 40-man roster. Following Noesi’s meltdown, Wedge trotted out D.J. Mitchell, Andrew Carraway, Chance Ruffin, Logan Bawcom, Anthony Fernandez, and Julio Morban for seven scoreless frames.
At the plate, the Mariners eked out just five hits and three runs. Michael Morse broke up the Padres’ no-hit bid (if such a thing even exists in spring training) with a line drive single in the fourth, while Casper Wells mashed his first home run off of Brandon Kloess.
Bonus highlight: Carlos Peguero, who walked twice. In 2012, he walked once.
Game 2: Mariners 8, Padres 6
This time, the M’s abandoned their faulty, “let-the-other-team-score-and-we’ll-catch-up” tactics. Blake Beavan managed to get through the opening frame unscathed, while Jason Bay got the team on the board with a two-run home run off of RHP Tyson Ross.
Justin Smoak lost no time defending his hot streak from September 2012. On his last at-bat of the game, he powered a home run off of Brad Boxberger, driving in Bay for the Mariners’ third and fourth runs of the day. Not to be outdone, first baseman Mike Jacobs substituted for Smoak in the final four innings and contributed a home run of his own.
Game 3: Mariners 8, Padres 3
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. The Mariners stuck by their tried-and-true strategy on Sunday, putting up five runs in the first and letting the Padres play catch up from there.
Erasmo Ramirez made his first strong start of the year, holding the Padres to a single base hit and a strikeout in the first inning. James Paxton became the third of the Big Four to make a spring training appearance, following Ramirez with his own one-hit, one-strikeout performance.
Today, doubles were the favored scoring method, with extra bases nabbed by Michael Morse, Michael Saunders, Robert Andino, Jesus Montero, Vinnie Catricala, Nick Franklin, and Julio Morban. Only Raul Ibanez went yard, picking a three-run homer off of San Diego’s Freddy Garcia.
For the first time this weekend, the Mariners did not allow the Padres more than a single run in any given inning. They also made it through a game without more than a single fielding error, though Robert Andino committed his second of the spring so far.
Bonus highlight: Franklin Gutierrez has now survived two games without getting injured.
Up next: Mariners vs. Angels, February 25, 12:05pm
Disclaimer: Nothing—absolutely nothing—should be read into these box scores. The fields are smaller, the pitchers are rustier, and spring has only just begun. (Unless you want to read something into Hector Noesi’s start, that is. There’s not much to be said in his defense.)