Nate Karns dominates, and the Mariners blow out the Rangers in Peoria.
The Seattle Mariners (9-8-2) dominated the Texas Rangers (9-6-1) in every aspect of the game today, as they won 7-1 in the desert. Nate Karns (1-1, 3.29 ERA) turned in an excellent start for Seattle en route to earning the victory. Victor Payano (0-1, 13.50 ERA) was roughed up today, and took the loss for the visitors.
Nate Karns was exceptionally effective this afternoon for the Mariners. The 28-year-old right-hander allowed 1 run on 3 hits through 4.2 innings of work. Karns rung up 7 strikeouts and issued 3 walks against the Rangers. He lowered his spring ERA to 3.29 today, and Karns may have taken a slim lead on James Paxton in the race for the final spot in the M’s starting rotation.
Adrian Sampson took over for Karns with two out in the top of the 5th inning. The Sammamish, WA product had his way with the Rangers this afternoon, hurling 2.1 shutout innings. Sampson struck out 3 and did not issue any walks. The 24-year-old right-hander has seen quite a bit of action this spring, and he has held his own for the most part. Sampson will likely begin the season in Tacoma, but a midseason promotion to Seattle is possible.
Tony Zych has been sidelined with the flu since last week, but he was called on to work the 8th inning for Seattle this afternoon. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed a two-out double, but managed to escape the inning unscathed. Jonathan Aro pitched a scoreless 9th to secure the Mariners victory.
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Nelson Cruz and Franklin Gutierrez combined to lead the Mariners offense today. Cruz has had a rough first couple weeks in spring training, but the Boomstick exploded for a solo home run in the 3rd inning. The dinger was Cruz’s first of the spring. Guti has been on fire in Arizona, and he launched his fourth Cactus League home run on Friday. The Mariners have high hopes for Gutierrez in 2016, and he appears to be primed for a big season.
Kyle Seager also had a nice game, going 1 for 3 with an RBI. Ketel Marte contributed an RBI double this afternoon. Nori Aoki and Leonys Martin were responsible for the other Seattle runs. Chris Iannetta had another solid day at the plate, going 1 for 1 with a pair of walks and a run scored.
The Seattle Mariners (9-8-2) will participate in split-squad action on Saturday. The M’s will take on the Kansas City Royals (8-10) at 1:05 pm in Surprise, and they will host the Arizona Diamondbacks (12-4) at 7:10 pm in Peoria. Taijuan Walker (0-2, 6.48 ERA) will get the ball for the Mariners against the Royals, and Matt Strahm (0-0, 1.59 ERA) will be on the bump for KC. Felix Hernandez (0-1, 11.57 ERA) will make his second start of the spring tomorrow evening, and the D-backs will turn to Tyler Wagner (2-0, 5.40 ERA). Seattle’s game against Arizona will be broadcast live on Root Sports Northwest, and MLB.tv subscribers can watch worldwide on connected devices.