After yesterday’s one-and-a-half inning rainout in Mesa, the Mariners completed their first official 2019 Cactus League affair with a win over the Oakland Athletics, 8-1.
It seemed that this game would meet the same fate as yesterday’s. First pitch was delayed by roughly 10 minutes in order to secure a safe playing field, then rain poured in the top half of the first. Sun poked through the bottom half of the first and all the way through the second, though a power outage at the Peoria Sports Complex slightly delayed things and cut the ROOT Sports broadcast off until the bottom of the third.
Mike Leake endured the first inning rain with a scoreless inning, then matched that in his second and final inning. Leake finished his day with two strikeouts, one walk, and one hit allowed.
The Mariners’ offense picked up where they left off from yesterday’s five run outing, getting on the board quickly off a two-run homer from Mitch Haniger to make things 2-0. The freshly slim Kyle Seager and his new batting stance followed that up with a double down the left, but the M’s failed to drive him in.
It was a good day for Seager, who added to his day with a single in the third before being pulled for Kristopher Negrón. Seager is noticeably thinner and has made some drastic changes to his plate approach, including a shift in hand positioning that crowds the plate more.
The Mariners loaded the bases in the third, and Ichiro joined the hit parade with a two-out bloop single to score two runs. RBIs from Negrón, José Lobatón, and Joe DeCarlo later in the game brought the M’s final tally up to eight runs on the day.
Zac Rosscup, Shawn Armstrong, and Dan Altavilla all pitched a scoreless inning a piece to keep the A’s off the board. In the sixth, top prospect Justin Dunn made his Mariners debut by retiring the side. He looked impressive.
Dunn was assisted by this great catch in the sun by center fielder Tito Polo:
Mariners pitchers were dominant all day, with the only hiccup coming in the top of the ninth on a solo home run by A’s prospect Sean Murphy off Nick Rumbelow. Rumbelow would regain composure and finish off the rest of the inning unscathed, securing an 8-1 victory for the M’s.
Tomorrow, the Mariners will face off against a new team: the neighboring San Diego Padres. Félix Hernández will get the start for the M’s at 12:10 PM PT on ROOT Sports.