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Winning streaks don’t mean much in spring training, but they sure beat losing all the time. And in the case of the Mariners, we continue to see some strong performances by guys who figure to be around come Opening Day.
We saw some really dominant bullpen work late by Tom Wilhelmsen and Carter Capps, who notched five strikeouts between them in the seventh and eighth innings as the Mariners held a lead they’d acquired way back in the second inning.
Capps allowed two singles but then struck out the side in the eighth with some overpowering stuff that bodes well in his bid to land a job as a seventh-or-eighth-inning type. The hitters he faced — Adam Duvall, Guillermo Quiroz and Roger Kieschnik — were all minor leaguers and journeymen, but Duvall was the Giants’ minor league player of the year last season and the stuff Capps had would have fared well against just about anybody.
“He’s throwing the ball good,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “Obviously, he has that live fastball and when you get into those types of situations you want to rely on it a little more to potentially get us out of that. You either want a strikeout or a double play and he was able to get the three strikeouts with a pretty good ball out there. It was pretty impressive that he was able to do that.”
On the offensive side, we saw Justin Smoak add two more hits — one a long double from the left side and the other an infield single from the right side. The double came off Giants starter Matt Cain, so that counts for something. Nick Franklin, who came to camp looking for some extra power on his drives, put a ball over the right field fence off Cain in the second inning.
Franklin Gutierrez showed some power as well, hitting a home run in the fifth off Sandy Rosario.
And the starting pitching once again limited an opponent early. Jon Garland had the scoreless first inning, followed by three innings of two-run ball from Blake Beavan.
Garland hadn’t pitched in a game since 2011 and admitted to feeling a little odd when it came to getting used to it all again. He got Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro to quickly ground out, then walked Pablo Sandoval. Buster Posey then singled up the midde on a ball Garland feels he should have stopped with his glove, but got out of the jam with a ground out against Hunter Pence. That’s some pretty good big league competition he got to hit grounders. A good sign.
“It was defiitely a little weird,” Garland said. “But it felt good to get out there in a true game situation. It felt really good considering they had their top-line guys there there for their first three at-bats. Being able to face them and get some ground balls and see some movement on the ball, it was a good feeling.”
The strangest part for him?
“I hadn’t been out there in so long,” he said. “Just with umpires out there in uniform and throwing to guys like that. I’ve been throwing bullpens and throwign on back fields. I’ve done that but until you get into a game situation and get the blood flowing, you really don’t know how you’re going to feel.”
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