PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Mike Zunino hit two home runs and Kyle Seager added a third for the Seattle Mariners, but the San Francisco Giants rallied from a four-run deficit in the top of the ninth inning with minor leaguers Saturday in a 9-8 split-squad victory.
Zunino connected in the second inning off Giants starter Jake Peavy and again in the sixth off big league reliever Jeremy Affeldt. The catcher leads Seattle with six home runs and 10 RBIs this spring.
The Mariners fielded a starting lineup with eight players expected to start on opening day. The Giants had some of their regulars playing in a futures game at the same time.
Hisashi Iwakuma struck out four and walked two in five innings. Three of the runs came on a towering home run to left field by Justin Maxwell in the fourth.
”On some pitches, I couldn’t find my balance, lower body, upper body,” Iwakuma said through a translator. ”I had good pitches here and there.”
Iwakuma, the projected No. 2 starter in the Seattle rotation, gave up the first runs he has allowed in a spring training game this year.
”He made two mistakes on sliders, but other than that I thought it was a good outing. He commanded the fastball well and he’s feeling pretty good and ready to go,” Zunino said.
Peavy threw 83 pitches in 3 1-3 innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits. The Giants got one scoreless inning each from relievers Juan Gutierrez, Sergio Romo, closer Santiago Casilla and Hunter Strickland.
San Francisco scored five runs off Mariners reliever Erasmo Ramirez in the ninth, the fifth on a wild pitch from Mark Lowe, who came on for Ramirez with one out.
The Giants have been plagued by some defensive lapses in spring training and have just eight wins. Shortstop Ehire Adrianza and first baseman Travis Ishikawa made bad throws to first base to allow runners to move up a base, and both Robinson Cano and Logan Morrison eventually came home.
Cano doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nelson Cruz in the first, giving the Mariners a 2-1 lead after the Giants opened the scoring with Gregor Blanco’s triple and an RBI fielder’s choice for Ishikawa.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon made it official on Saturday: Felix Hernandez will start on opening day in Seattle on April 6 against the Los Angeles Angels. It’s to be the eighth career opening day start, seven consecutive, for Hernandez.
Hernandez is 5-0 with a 1.52 ERA on opening day. McClendon had long since said that Hernandez would ”99.999 percent” be the guy, but made it 100 percent certain.
Giants: Peavy has allowed at least one run in all six outings this spring, including a minor league game on March 18.
Mariners: Iwakuma said he’s ready to start the season. ”I feel like I have a lot of life on my fastball. That’s a good sign,” he said.
Mariners: SS Brad Miller was held out of the lineup due to illness, replaced by Willie Bloomquist. Miller could be back as soon as Sunday.
Giants: Matt Cain faces the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday in his first major league start since March 14. He pitched in two minor league games in his two most recent starts.
Mariners: J.A. Happ takes the mound on Sunday against the San Diego Padres. It’s his fourth start, and Happ, who is expected to be in the starting rotation, could use a solid outing given what he’s done so far this spring. Happ has a 7.27 ERA in three spring starts.
FUTURE VS. PRESENT
Brandon Crawford, Angel Pagan and several current Giants players played to a 2-all tie in six innings against a team of Giants minor leaguers.
Yusmeiro Petit gave up two runs, including Austin Slater’s solo homer. Slater played at Stanford and was the Giants’ eighth-round draft choice last summer. He also singled and walked.
Bench coach Ron Wotus managed the Giants team that also had Nori Aoki, Joe Panik and Brandon Belt.
With temperatures near 90 degrees, the misting machines at Scottsdale Stadium were turned on. Catcher Hector Sanchez cooled off in a different way – chasing a foul ball near the backstop, the ball plopped into a fan’s cup of beer, spraying Sanchez in the face.