J.A. Happ Shines, Seattle Mariners Crush Brewers 10-5


62. Final. 5. 76. 10

The Seattle Mariners (5-6) dominated in every aspect of the game Friday afternoon in Peoria, winning easily against the Milwaukee Brewers (3-6). J.A. Happ (1-1, 3.60 ERA) pitched three strong innings for the M’s, and earned his first victory of the spring. Mike Fiers (0-1, 5.79 ERA) was roughed up this afternoon, and was saddled with his first loss.

The Mariners scored early and often on Friday afternoon in Peoria. Austin Jackson led off the top of the first with a single to left field. Jackson put himself in scoring position by swiping second base. Seth Smith ripped a changeup down the right field line for an RBI double. After back-to-back walks to Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz, Logan Morrison grounded into a double play. A run came across to score on the play, giving the M’s a 2-0 lead after the first inning.

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Mike Zunino stepped into the box with one out and the bases loaded in the third inning. Zuni punched a ground ball between third base and shortstop; two runs came in to score to give the Mariners a 4-0 lead. Dustin Ackley’s beard plated Zunino later in the frame on a single to right field to give the M’s a 5-0 lead after three.

Logan Morrison kept the good times rolling for the Mariners in the fifth inning. The M’s had runners on first and second with nobody out when LoMo extended the lead to 6 runs on a single to left-center field. Later in the inning, Tyler Marlette scored on a passed ball to make the score 7-0 in the M’s favor heading to the top of the sixth.

The Brewers broke through in the top of the sixth against veteran right-hander Danny Farquhar. Brewers’ catching prospect Juan Centero took a Farquhar fastball deep to right field for a solo home run. The score was 7-1 entering the Mariners’ sixth.

The Mariners’ bats were alive on Friday afternoon, and they added three more runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning. With the bases juiced, Marlette hit a weak ground ball to shortstop that appeared to be an inning ending double play. However, Yadiel Rivera’s throw was wide of second base, and two Mariners trotted in to score. D.J. Peterson added to his already impressive spring by cashing in Jordy Lara on a sacrifice fly to center field. The M’s held a 10-1 lead after six innings.

The Brewers began slowly chipping away at the Mariners’ lead in the top of the seventh inning. After Mayckol Guaipe retired the first batter of the inning, he allowed the next two hitters to reach. Bryan Peterson drove in Elian Herrera on a line drive to right field, making the score 10-2. Matt Long shrunk the M’s lead to seven by hitting a sacrifice fly to left field.

UW product Forrest Snow was called on to close this one out for the Mariners. With a runner on first base and one out, Matt Long connected on a triple to center field. Long’s triple made it a 10-4 game. Jason Rogers brought the Brew Crew a little bit closer by scoring Long on a sacrifice fly to center field. Thankfully, that was all the Brewers could muster, and the Mariners won by a final score of 10-5.

The entire box score can be found here.

What Stood Out:

J.A. Happ Pitches Three Shutout Frames

The Mariners gave up outfielder Michael Saunders to acquire the veteran lefty from the Toronto Blue Jays this past December. J.A. Happ’s first start of the spring did not go as planned, but he looked much more comfortable on Friday afternoon in Peoria. Happ had great command of all his pitches, and he appeared very confident on the mound against Milwaukee. The 32-year-old pitched three shutout innings this afternoon, striking out two Brewers, and walking none. The only blemish was a one out single in the second inning. Happ is not going to be a dominant southpaw for the Mariners in 2015, but he is a wily veteran who should eat up plenty of innings in the middle of the M’s rotation.

Mar 4, 2015; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners shortstop Chris Taylor (1) looks on against the San Diego Padres during a spring training baseball game at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Taylor Goes 3 for 3!

The Mariners’ shortstop competition is nearly impossible to call at this juncture. Chris Taylor made some great plays defensively last season for the M’s, but showed very little pop with the bat. This spring he has tore it up offensively. He went 3 for 3 today, and is now batting .421 with 1 home run and 4 RBI’s in Cactus League play. Brad Miller is the more polished hitter, and is said to hold a sliver of a lead in the race to be the M’s everyday shortstop. Miller struggled at the plate today, but he is currently hitting .400 this spring with 2 home runs and 3 RBI’s. Some have questioned Miller’s ability to defend, but he made a great throw from deep in the hole at short his afternoon to get the out at first. Both players are performing at a very high level right now, and it should be fun to watch what transpires over the final three weeks of spring training.

Mike Zunino’s Hot Start Continues

Everyone knows Mike Zunino possesses elite power from the right side of the plate, but this spring the Mariners backstop has looked like a much more complete hitter. Zunino finished last season with a .199 batting average, 22 home runs and 66 RBI’s across 438 at bats. The 23-year-old is currently hitting .455 with 1 home run and 4 RBI’s this spring. Zunino is great with the pitching staff, and he played a huge role in the success the Mariners’ pitchers had in 2014. If he can somehow hit .240 this season, Zunino could easily top 30 homers, and make his first All Star appearance. The former number three overall pick has immense potential, and so far this spring he appears to have figured out how to hit big league pitching.

Looking Ahead:

The Seattle Mariners (5-6) will head east to Scottsdale, AZ on Saturday afternoon to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks (6-4). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm PST from the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Taijuan Walker (0-0. 0.00 ERA) will make his third start of the spring for Seattle. Walker has been fabulous in his first two outings, and he will look to lock down the fifth starter spot with another strong performance on Saturday. Chase Anderson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will get the ball for the D-backs. Unfortunately, tomorrow’s game between the Mariners and Diamondbacks will not be televised, however it can be heard live on 710 ESPN.

Next: Will Ferrell Impresses in Debut, but Mariners Lose to A's

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