A crowd of 5,028 here has seen the Mariners strand 11 baserunners as we head to the ninth with the M’s trailing the Padres 3-2. The Mariners loaded the bases in the eighth with one out after a double-play grounder by Greg Halman was botched. The relay to second hit the runner in the back to load ’em up. But back-to-back strikeouts, the final run by Mike Wilson, ended that threat.
13:47 p.m.: Five innings in the books here, with the Mariners still trailing 3-2. Seattle is outhitting the Padres 10-5 in this game, but has only the two runs to show for it, A pre-cursor to the rest of this season? We’ll see. We caught up with Ryan Rowland-Smith in the clubhouse moments ago. Have a listen to that interview right here on this audio clip. RRS tossed two scoreless innings, giving up a walk and a pair of hits. He admitted to some nerves, which caused him to fall behind hitters in the first inning. But he says he was happy to be able to work out of some jams, adding that they help “to see a little bit of what you’re made of.”
Have a listen.
13:06 p.m.: Not quite the debut Mariners pitcher Garret Olson was looking for. The starting pitcher acquired from the Cubs in the Aaron Heilman deal gave up a pair of hard-hit balls to Scott Hairston and David Eckstein to start the bottom of the third. Eckstein’s landed in left center and he legged out a double to put runners on second and third with none out. Olson then fanned Adrian Gonzalez, but Kevin Kouzmanoff grounded out to the right side to bring home a run.
Chase Headley then popped a ball sky high and saw it carry into the right field bullpen to put San Diego ahead 3-2.
After a two-out walk to Edgar Gonzalez, Olson escaped the inning on a flyball to the warning track in left center by Will Venable that was run down by Franklin Gutierrez.
1:01 p.m.: Endy Chavez nearly broke his wrist in the third inning after leading off with a hard single to right off Cla Meredith. Chavez broke for second on a fly ball to the lip of the center field warning track by Ronny Cedeno. The speedy Chavez dove in headfirst, in plenty of time, but his hand seemed to get caught underneath him as he hit the ground a little harder than I think he wanted to. He’s fortunate to be OK. Mike Morse grounded into an inning-ending double-play after Jeff Clement reached on an error.
Ryan Rowland-Smith threw 32 pitches — 17 for strikes — over his two scoreless innings. He yielded a pair of singles, only one to the outfield. Also walked a batter.
12:40 p.m.: Seattle has a 2-0 lead as we head to the bottom of the second inning. Both M’s runs came in the top of the second off Heath Bell. Mike Morse and Russell Branyan led things off with some cheap singles on a dribbler through the right side and a bloop to left respectively. Franklin Gutierrez got a great bunt down to the left of home plate to move the runners over (a productive use of an out in that situation) and Bryan LaHair singled the opposite way to left to bring the first run home. Branyan was thrown out trying to score on the play, but LaHair alertly moved up into scoring position. Matt Tuiasosopo, pictured below, then tripled off the wall in right center to make it 2-0.
12:22 p.m.: We’re scoreless after an inning of play. Ronny Cedeno bounced a ball up the middle for a single off Jake Peavy in the top of the first. But Jeff Clement grounded into an inning-ending double-play.
Ryan Rowland-Smith yielded an infield hit to Scott Hairston to start the bottom of the first. Hairston ripped a hard shot to third that a diving Matt Tuiasosopo gor his glove on. But Tui couldn’t get the throw to first off quickly enough. Adrian Beltre makes that play. Anyhow, David Eckstein then sacrificed Hairston to second (wasting a valuable out and helping RRS in the process). Adrian Gonzalez grounded out to second, advancing the runner. Kevin Kouzmanoff drew a two-out walk and then Chase Headley bounced into a fielder’s choice at second.
12:10 p.m.: We’re just getting underway here at Peoria Stadium. A sparse crowd on-hand. We’ll have to keep an eye on that as spring training progresses. The economy is in the tank and baseball officials are watching nervously to see whether attendance follows. Up above, Endy Chavez takes the first pitch of the game from Jake Peavy. Chavez wound up popping out to the shortstop.