Walker, Miller Lead Mariners Past Indians


The Seattle Mariners (4-3) walked off on Monday afternoon in Peoria against the Cleveland Indians (2-4), winning by a final score of 4 to 3. Mark Lowe (2-0, 0.00 ERA) earned his second win of the spring this afternoon, and Nick Maronde (0-1, 3.86 ERA) was saddled with the loss.

Taijuan Walker got the start for the Mariners on Monday afternoon, and he dazzled. Walker pitched three shutout innings against the Indians, striking out four, and walking none in his second start of the spring. Walker had great command of all of his pitches, and baffled hitters all afternoon.

Shortstop Brad Miller got the scoring started for the Mariners in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Miller took a first pitch change up from starter Carlos Carrasco to deep right-center field for a solo homerun. Miller’s long ball gave the M’s a 1-0 lead.

Mike Zunino clobbered a Bruce Chen sinker deeeeep to left field for his first home run of the spring. Zunino has huge power, and he showed it today, clearing the fence by a good 25 feet. Zunino’s blast gave the Mariners a 2-0 lead in the 5th inning.

One batter after Zunino doubled the M’s lead, Brad Miller and his stirrups connected on his second solo home run of the day. Miller sent an 0-2 sinker over the right-center field fence to give the Mariners a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the 5th.

Carson Smith ran into trouble after he was called in to pitch the top of the 6th inning for the M’s. Jerry Sands hit a one out single to center field to spark the rally for the Indians. After a Jordan Smith ground out, Jason Kipnis worked a two out walk. Yan Gomes plated Sands and Kipnis on a double. The two run double trimmed the M’s lead to just 1 run.

The Indians tied the game in the 7th when newcomer Brandon Moss took a Lucas Luetge slider to deep right-center field. The home run was of the solo variety and knotted the game at 3. Moss came over from the A’s this winter, and Monday’s game was his first in an Indians’ uniform.

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The game stayed tied at 3 until the bottom of the 9th inning. Ketel Marte got the inning started with a bang when he connected on a leadoff triple. D.J. Peterson stepped into the box with the winning run just 90 ft. away. The Mariners top prospect added to his impressive spring by hitting a sacrifice fly deep to right field to give the M’s a walk off win against the Indians.

The full box score can be found here.

What Stood Out:

Taijuan Walker Dominates

Tai Walker has been flawless thus far in spring training, and he looks like the favorite right now to land the final spot in the Mariners starting rotation. Walker has made two starts this spring and has failed to allow a run in five innings of work. Tai had pinpoint control on Monday, and started all 9 hitters he faced with a first pitch strike. Walker had trouble at times last season locating his fastball, but that has not been the case early on in Cactus League play.

Shortstop Battle Heating Up

Robinson Cano is currently back in the Dominican Republic following the passing of his grandfather. Brad Miller earned the start at shortstop on Monday and Chris Taylor got the nod at second base in Cano’s absence. Miller’s two home runs paced the M’s offense today, and he has started hot this spring, hitting .667. Taylor went 2 for 2 with a single and a double in the win, and is really making this a hard decision. Miller appears to have the early edge over Taylor, but this race remains too close to call.

Southpaws Olson and Rollins

The Mariners went out and signed veteran lefty Joe Saunders last month to help fill the void left by Joe Beimel. However, Saunders has been woeful this spring, allowing 7 earned runs over his first two innings of work. With Saunders struggling, young southpaws Tyler Olson and David Rollins have really stepped up during the first week spring training.

Tyler Olson was electric on Monday, striking out the side in the 4th inning. Olson has now pitched 3 perfect innings to open the spring. Olson is a non-roster invitee this March, but he will force his way onto the Mariners’ opening day roster if continues to dominate.

David Rollins threw a perfect inning on Monday, and has now held the opponent off the scoreboard in each of his three innings this spring. Olson and Rollins appear to be the favorites to land the final left handed pitcher spot in the Mariners bullpen.

Looking Ahead:

The Seattle Mariners (4-3) will travel to Scottsdale, AZ to take on the Colorado Rockies (2-3-1) in Cactus League action on Tuesday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1:05 pm from the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Felix Hernandez (15-6, 2.14 ERA in 2014) will be on the bump for the Mariners Tuesday in Scottsdale. Tomorrow’s game will mark the first start of the spring for King Felix. The game between the M’s and the Rockies will be broadcast live on 710 ESPN.

Next: Seattle Mariners Drop to 3-3 in Cactus League

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