Mariners 6, Royals 2

Kevin Millwood had a strong outing in his attempt to make the

Seattle Mariners’ roster.

The veteran right-hander pitched four scoreless innings in his

most effective start of the spring, and Michael Saunders drove in a

pair of runs with a double as part of a four-run sixth inning to

lead the Mariners over the Kansas City Royals 6-2 Wednesday


Millwood, who allowed at least a run in each of his first two

outings, wasn’t always sharp against the Royals – he allowed three

walks but just one hit while throwing 53 pitches.

”First two innings I was just missing up. I was just drifting

toward the plate too early,” Millwood said. ”Fixed that between

the second and third. Third and fourth inning, got the ball down

good and pitched the way I needed to.”

He had given up three runs in a relief appearance on March 3 and

then allowed one run and four hits in three innings last


”When things aren’t exactly the way you want them, you’ve got

to be able to make pitches at some point,” Millwood added. ”I’m

definitely not ecstatic about the outing by any means but I’m happy

that when I needed to, I was able to make a pitch and keep us in

the ball game.”

Saunders, who is making a strong push to open the season as the

starting center fielder, raised his batting average to .417 and

Ichiro Suzuki had two hits.

”He’s had a great spring. He looks like a totally different

hitter,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of Saunders. ”He’s up

there ready to hit, he’s stronger, he’s got a little swagger to

him, more presence at home plate.”

High-level prospect Vinnie Catricala also knocked in two runs

with singles in the fourth and sixth innings as the Mariners

improved to 10-3 this spring.

Royals starter Aaron Crow, an All-Star reliever last season,

went three innings and allowed two runs on two hits, walking two

with two strikeouts.

”First two innings couldn’t have gone any better,” Crow said.

”Fourth inning, can’t get behind a hitter like Ichiro. It’s

something I’ll learn from and get better.”

The Mariners led 6-0 before Kansas City scored a pair of

unearned runs off Oliver Perez.

Jonathan Broxton struck out two in one inning of work in his

spring debut for Kansas City.

The Royals were playing for the first time since learning

catcher Salvador Perez will have to undergo surgery sometime this

week for a torn meniscus in his right knee and miss perhaps a

month. Brayan Pena started behind the plate Wednesday.

”It’s terrible for the team. Salvador’s a great catcher and

we’re going to feel it, but Pena is more than capable of stepping

in,” Crow said. ”I think everybody’s confident in him and I think

we’ll be OK.”

NOTES: Mariners SS Brendan Ryan left the game after the top of

the fourth inning with tightness in his left quadriceps. Ryan ran

hard around second base on a flyout and was slower to get back to

first in the bottom of the third. … Seattle LHP Jason Vargas,

slated to start the team’s second regular-season game in Japan on

March 29, threw in a minor-league intrasquad game. He allowed two

runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out five and walking

one. … Former Mariners All-Star OF Mike Cameron will throw out

the ceremonial first pitch on opening night on April 13 at Safeco

Field. Cameron, who spent 17 years in the major leagues before

retiring last month, played for the Mariners from 2000-03. … With

two catchers down due to injury, the Royals added two – Ryan Eigsti

and Ben Theriot – from their minor-league camp for spring