Will Ferrell Impresses in Debut, but Mariners Lose to A’s

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96. Final. 3. 62. 4

The Seattle Mariners (4-6) dropped their third consecutive Cactus League game on Thursday afternoon in Mesa, AZ. The Oakland Athletics (7-2) stormed back late to beat the Mariners 4 to 3 this afternoon at HoHoKam Stadium. The M’s held a two run lead entering the final frame, but were unable to contain the A’s bats. Rudy Owens (1-0, 9.00 ERA) earned his first victory of the spring, and Mark Lowe (2-1, 7.36 ERA) suffered his first defeat.

The Athletics got the scoring started early Thursday afternoon. Youngster Billy Burns started the bottom of the first by lacing the first pitch he saw into right field for a leadoff triple. Outfielder Sam Fuld flied out to left field for the first out of the inning, but the ball was deep enough to score Burns from third base. The A’s took a 1-0 lead into the second inning.

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The Mariners fought back and took the lead in the top of the third inning. Austin Jackson sparked the M’s rally by hitting a one out triple to left field. Newcomer Justin Ruggiano plated Jackson on an RBI single to right field. Stefen Romero made it three consecutive hits for the Mariners by singling on a ground ball to center field. Ruggiano hustled around to third base on Romero’s single. Nelson Cruz gave the Mariners the lead when he lofted a sacrifice fly to left field. The M’s held a 2-1 lead heading to the bottom of the third inning.

Stefen Romero was instrumental in helping the Mariners extend their lead in the sixth inning. Romero lead off the frame by singling on a line drive to right field. Romero advanced to second base following a Chad Smith wild pitch. Mike Zunino singled on a ground ball to right field. Zunino’s single moved Romero over to third base. Jesus Montero gave the Mariners a two run cushion by delivering a two out RBI single to center field. The Mariners took a 3-1 lead into the home half of the sixth inning.

The score remained unchanged until the bottom of the ninth inning. Mark Lowe had put together a nice spring prior to getting the ball with a two run lead in the ninth. After striking out Jason Pridie to open the final frame, Luke Carlin hit a ground rule double to deep right-center field. Alden Carrithers made it back-to-back doubles, and trimmed the M’s lead to just one run. Bryan Anderson drove in the tying run on a double of his own to left field. After Max Muncy popped out to center field, the Mariners brought in Paul Fry to pitch to Kent Matthes. Unfortunately, the change made no difference, as Matthes singled on a line drive to right field to bring home the winning run.

What Stood Out:

Mar 12, 2015; Mesa, AZ, USA; Film actor Will Ferrell plays infield for the Seattle Mariners in the first inning during a spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at HoHoKam Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Will Ferrell Looks Good in a Mariners’ Uniform!

Working in coordination with MLB and HBO, Comedian Will Ferrell suited up for ten teams in Cactus League action on Thursday afternoon. His magical mystery tour began at HoHoKam Stadium as the starting shortstop for the Oakland A’s. In a shocking turn of events, Ferrell was traded to the Mariners in the middle of the first inning for a washing machine. After a quick change of clothes, Ferrell was playing second base for the M’s in the bottom of the first. For a 47-year-old man, Ferrell flashed some decent athleticism up the middle. However, it is probably best for all involved if he sticks to making people laugh. It was enjoyable to watch the funny man play the game we all love, and the best part is that Ferrell and MLB are working together in an effort to raise money for cancer research.

David Rollins Making a Strong Case to Win Spot in Mariners’ Bullpen

David Rollins was not on many people’s radar when spring training began a little over a week ago. However, a lot has changed in the days since. Rollins has been hot this spring, and on Thursday the Texan pitched his fourth consecutive scoreless inning. Today’s appearance may have been his best as a Mariner, as he struck out two A’s and did not allow a walk or a hit in the fourth inning. We discussed the battle for the second lefty in the M’s bullpen earlier in the day, and with this performance, Rollins may have leapfrogged Tyler Olson for the early lead. Rollins is a guy to keep a close eye on as we inch closer to opening day.

Austin Jackson Just Keeps Hitting

The Mariners dealt for Austin Jackson from the Detroit Tigers at last season’s trade deadline. Despite playing a great center field in Seattle, he was viewed by many as a disappointment in 2014. AJ appears determined to impress the Mariner faithful in 2015, and this spring he cannot be stopped. Jackson led off the ballgame today with a walk, and finished 2 for 2 with a single, triple, and run scored. He is now batting .385 this month, with 1 RBI, 1 double, 1 triple and 1 stolen base across 13 at bats. It is far too early to get our hopes up, but this is exactly the production the M’s were expecting following the trade last season. If AJ can keep this up, he could be a real x-factor the Mariners in 2015.

Looking Ahead:

The Seattle Mariners (4-6) will return to the friendly confines at the Peoria Sports Complex on Friday afternoon to play host to the Milwaukee Brewers (2-5). First pitch is set for 1:05 PST from Peoria, AZ. J.A. Happ (0-1, 9.00 ERA) will make his second start as a member of the Mariners, and Mike Fiers (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will be on the bump for the Brew Crew. Friday’s game against the Brewers will be televised locally on Root Sports Northwest, and will available on MLB.com for MLB.tv subscribers.

Next: Seattle Mariners’ Spring Battles: Second Southpaw Reliever

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