The Seattle Mariners (7-7) shutout the Oakland Athletics (10-7) on Wednesday afternoon in Peoria. The M’s pitching staff was dominant this afternoon, but timely hitting late in the ballgame played a key role in the victory. Erasmo Ramirez (1-0, 2.00 ERA) picked up his first win of the spring after pitching four scoreless frames. Despite pitching well, Drew Pomeranz (0-2, 2.00 ERA) was saddled with the loss.
This game was essentially a pitchers duel, but the Mariners finally broke through in the fourth inning on Wednesday afternoon. Kyle Seager sparked a two out rally by driving a 1-1 knuckle curve over the head of right fielder Jason Pridie. The ball short hopped the wall, and Seager slid safely into second for a double. Newcomer Justin Ruggiano plated Seager on line drive to left field and the M’s took a 1-0 lead into the fifth inning.
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The Mariners nearly tacked on another run in the bottom of the seventh. Following a Kyle Seager walk, Lloyd McClendon opted to bring in youngster Carlos Rivero to run for Seager at first base. Rivero advanced to second base on a Justin Ruggiano ground out. A’s pitcher Chris Bassit surprised everyone in the ballpark by spinning and firing the ball to second base to catch a napping Rivero. Logan Morrison was up to bat at the time, and three pitches after Rivero was picked off, LoMo hit a double into the right center field gap. Rivero would have scored easily on the double, but the M’s failed to extend their lead.
The score remained unchanged until the bottom of the eighth inning. Starting shortstop Brad Miller worked a leadoff walk to open the inning. Veteran utility man Willie Bloomquist hit a sharp ground ball into right field, putting runners on the corners with none out. Speedy outfielder James Jones doubled the Mariners’ lead by punching a ground ball through the left side of the infield. Following a Shawn O’Malley strikeout, Bloomquist came around to score from second on a Stefen Romero line drive to right field. Patrick Kivlehan added to his already impressive spring by slicing a 2 out RBI single to right field to give the Mariners a 4-0 lead.
Carson Smith was called on to shut the door in the ninth. Smith was dominant down the stretch last season in Seattle, but he has struggled with consistency this spring. The 25-year-old breezed through the inning, setting down the A’s in order to seal the Mariners’ victory. Smith generated great movement on his fastball this afternoon, and struck out Jason Pridie on a beautiful changeup.
Before we preview what Thursday has in store for the Mariners, we will first take a gander at what stood out during Wednesday’s ballgame.
Next: Ramirez Pitches Four Shutout Innings