Well, so much for that. A leadoff walk and a Josh Wilson throwing error opened the floogates in the ninth for Arizona, which now has an 8-5 lead. The D-Backs scored the tying run on a David Winfrey single and then — one walk later — Miguel Montero drew another walk to force home the go-ahead run.
Things really turned ugly from there. With the bases loaded and still nobody out, Adam Eaton (no, not the same guy you’re thinking) came up swinging (he obviously didn’t watch the previous plate appearances) and went down swinging soon after.
But then Ryan Roberts came up and League’s first pitch broke wide of the catcher and bounced to the backstop, allowing another run to score and the runners to advance.
Roberts then hit a sacrifice fly to deep right to bring the fourth Arizona run of the inning home.
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Mariners closer. Don’t panic. It’s only spring training. League clearly had trouble locating today, but he’s got two weeks to get things right.
3:26 p.m.: The Mariners did everything they could to let the Diamondbacks off the hook in the eighth inning after a leadoff double by Chris Gimenez and a single by Josh Wilson put runners at the corners with none out. Matt Tuiasosopo then flied out to shallow right against Micah Owings — the guy whose sister he’s dating.
Gimenez held his ground at third. Justin Smoak then hit a comebacker and Gimenez was caught in a rundown, but somehow managed to dive back safely into third when the D-Backs botched the coverage.
Finally Sean Kazmar hit into a textbook 6-4-3 double play except that the second baseman decided to throw a ball nine feet in the air towards a 6-foot-something first baseman, allowing the go-ahead run to score. So, it’s 5-4 for the M’s.
Hey, it’s spring training. Brandon League is three outs away from snapping the losing streak at two.
3:15 p.m.: Not much new to report to you. The Mariners tied the game 4-4 on an unearned run back in the fifth inning and it’s still that was as we head to the bottom of the eighth.
The M’s are getting out-hit, 10-4, so again, that’s somewhat worrisome. Three straight games now in which the offense has been silenced for the most part. You had two runs on the Milton Bradley homer, another unearned and one on a homer by Luis Rodriguez — who won’t be around in two weeks.
On the positive side, the pitching has been pretty good today. It’ll have to be or this will be a long season.
2:25 p.m.: Arizona just pounded Jason Vargas in the fifth inning, scoring three times to take a 4-3 lead. The D-Backs loaded the bases with one out, then saw Kelly Johnson and Willie Bloomquist line singles to left field to put them ahead.
Mariners left fielder Michael Wilson bobbled the Bloomquist single, enabling the go-ahead run to score on the play.
After a mound visit by pitching coach Carl Willis, Vargas got Melvin Mora to ground into a 6-4-3 double-play.
2:02 p.m.: Milton Bradley fought off some two-strike pitches, then hit a two-run homer to right field off Daniel Hudson in the third inning to give Seattle a 3-1 lead. Bradley has made quite an impression this spring, to the point where it’ll be very difficult for Michael Saunders to avoid a trip down to Class AAA.
Saunders is still adjusting to a revamped swing and needs everyday playing time. He likely won’t get that in the majors the way Bradley is swinging the bat. The beneficiary of Bradley’s bat? Well, besides Bradley, himself? That would be Ryan Langerhans. If Saunders was the starting left fielder, Bradley would likely be the backup.
But with Bradley the everyday guy, Saunders, as we said, is likely headed to AAA. And that leaves .440-hitting Langerhans looking like one of the starting 25 — yet again.
1:48 p.m.: We’re tied 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning. Jason Vargas had retired six in a row, but gave up a leadoff double this inning to Tony Abreu, then saw Gerardo Parra single to center to tie the game.
Luis Rodriguez opened the scoring in the second inning with a solo homer off Daniel Hudson. It was the first homer this spring for Rodriguez, who has no chance of making the team.
1:00 p.m.: We’ll see Jason Vargas on the mound this afternoon with a mostly “A” lineup behind him. The Mariners have dropped two straight in not-so-impressive fashion, so we’ll see how they respond.
Milton Bradley plays for the first time since getting ejected on Wednesday night.