Seattle Mariners Game Recap: Zunino Homers Twice in Tie

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62. Final. 4. 126. 4

The Seattle Mariners tied the Texas Rangers Friday afternoon in Surprise, AZ. It turned out to be an entertaining game because of the back and forth nature. Roenis Elias started the game for Seattle, and pitched pretty well in his four innings of work. Rangers’ starter Derek Holland blanked the M’s for the first three innings.

After being stymied in each of the first two innings by Roenis Elias, the Rangers opted to shake things up to start the third. Speedster Hanser Alberto laid down a perfect bunt to reach base safely. Elias attempted a pickoff at first base, but was called for a balk and Alberto was awarded second base. Nomar Mazara singled on hard hit grounder that second baseman Shawn O’Malley was unable to corral. The Rangers had runners on the corners with none out. Elliot Johnson lofted a fly ball to right-center field that was deep enough to bring Alberto in from third base. Texas took a 1-0 lead into the fourth inning.

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However, the Rangers lead was short lived. The M’s got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning on Friday. Mariners’ backstop Mike Zunino drilled a Jon Edwards offering deep to left-center field for a solo home run. Zunino has always had big time power, but this spring he has looked like a much more complete hitter at the plate.

The Rangers jumped back out in front of the Mariners in the bottom of the fifth. Roenis Elias was chased from the game after surrendering back-to-back walks to start the inning. Charlie Furbush was called upon to get the M’s out of the jam. Nate Shierholtz reached on a fielding error by Furbush to load the bases for the Rangers with nobody out. Following a Mitch Moreland strikeout, Adrian Beltre worked a walk to bring Nomar Mazara in to score from third base. Furbush induced an inning ending double play, and the Rangers led 2-1 after five.

Once again, Texas’s lead was short lived. 19-year-old phenom Alex Jackson showed great patience and worked a leadoff walk to open the sixth inning. Mike Zunino had himself quite a day on Friday afternoon in Surprise, and he clubbed his second dinger of the day. Zunino’s bomb just stayed fair down the left field line to give the M’s a 3-2 lead.

The Rangers reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Elliot Johnson reached base on a walk to open the inning. First baseman Mitch Moreland muscled up on a Tom Wilhelmsen fastball for a two run home run. Texas held a 4-3 lead in the seventh. Moreland had a great nine pitch at bat before blasting the ball over the right field fence.

The Mariners fought back once more to tie the game at 4 in the top of the eighth inning. Top prospect Alex Jackson connected on his first home run in a Mariners’ uniform on a deep fly ball to right-center field. Jackson has some big league power, and the opposite field homer showcased it.

Joe Saunders has had a rough go of it thus far in spring training for the Mariners, but he managed to keep the Rangers out of the run column in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the tie. Saunders is miles behind David Rollins and Tyler Olson in the competition for the second lefty in the bullpen, but he looked much better in today’s outing.

The entire box score can be found here.

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