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March 5, 2007 at 12:39 PM

Mariners 4, Cubs 0, top of 3rd

Nothing like a dose of Mark Prior to get the Seattle bats going. Hard not to root for a guy trying to overcome all of his arm woes, but Prior simply didn’t look very good out there today. In fact, he was a lot closer to Mike Hargrove’s wish of throwing balls 40 miles per hour down the heart of the plate (when he actually found the plate) than he was to being the guy the Cubs need him to be. Could be a very long year in Chicago.
Prior allowed three baserunners in the first inning, which, as we mentioned, the Mariners managed not to capitalize on. But that wasn’t the case in the second inning as Kenji Johjima, seconds after barely missing a long homer to left on a foul ball, singled to center. Mike Morse then doubled to left center, putting runners at second and third. Prior fell behind 2-0 in the count on Jeremy Reed, prompting a visit from his pitching coach. On the very next pitch, Reed drove a ball off the top of the center field wall to score a pair of runs. Prior finally got an out, on a groundball to short by Yuniesky Betancourt, and was lifted from the game in favor of Ben Howard.
Reed soon added insult-to-injury by notching Seattle’s first stolen base of the spring, a swipe of third. Willie Bloomquist quickly drove him home with a single to right off Howard, his second hit of the day.
All three runs were charged to Prior, on four hits and two walks over the inning and a third.
Adrian Beltre then cashed another run home by launching the second Seattle double of the inning off the top of the fence in center. Richie Sexson then flied out to deep right center, but not before the Mariners had scored as many runs in the inning as they had in any game thus far this spring.
M’s starter Miguel Batista had a relatively easy day, notching five consecutive outs — two of them strikeouts — before walking a pair of hitters. He then ended the second with a Mike Kincade popout.
UPDATE: CUBS GET RUN IN 3RD
A leadoff single by the Cubs off Jake Woods, followed by a Beltre error on an Angel Pagan grounder off his glove, led to the first Chicago run. Daryle Ward wound up muscling a pitch into left center to bring that run home before Woods got a fielder’s choice to end the frame.
So, it’s still 4-1 for the M’s heading to the bottom of the third. Ted Lilly is on the mound for Chicago. No, he hasn’t had a fight with his manager yet.

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