Mariners 8, Reds 7

Michael Morse made the Mariners out of camp five years ago

thanks to big offensive production in spring training. Now he’s

back, and even though he’s a big league regular, he’s still having

another fruitful spring for Seattle.

Morse hit two home runs and drove in five runs to lead the

Mariners back from a six-run deficit for an 8-7 win over the

Cincinnati Reds Thursday in spring training.

Morse’s 3-for-3 afternoon included a double and run scored in

the second inning. He hit his first two-run shot in the fourth off

Reds starter Homer Bailey and connected for a three-run shot in the

fifth off reliever Clay Hensley. Morse is 11-for-31 in spring

training and leads the team in home runs with five.

”Didn’t try to do too much, and got good results,” Morse said.

He was most satisfied with his double, an at-bat in which he made

an adjustment to a two-strike curveball.

”I’m always working. I’m always trying to fine-tune my swing,

fine-tune my defense or offense, whatever it could be,” Morse

said. ”It’s good to get results, no matter what time of year it

is. My at-bats are starting to become quality at-bats in a


Kendrys Morales and Justin Smoak added two hits and an RBI each

for Seattle, which snapped a four-game losing streak.

”Too much Morse,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ”Those balls

were hit like a 2-iron.”

Catcher Mike Zunino, the Mariners’ first-round draft pick in

2012, hit a go-ahead solo home run in the eighth inning.

Bailey allowed three runs on six hits in four innings. Zack

Cozart had two hits including a two-run single in the fourth inning

and Chris Heisey had two hits for the Reds.

”Got a lot of ground balls, which is something we were looking

for,” Bailey said. ”One pitch, kind of left it middle, and it

hasn’t landed yet.”

All-Star first baseman Joey Votto went 0-for-2 with a run scored

before being replaced after three innings. Manager Dusty Baker said

Votto has been feeling ill and because Votto gets Friday off, Baker

decided to take him out early.

Mariners left-hander Joe Saunders was roughed up for five earned

runs on nine hits in 3 2-3 innings. He pitched through pain from a

blister on his left foot.

”Actually my arm felt good, the velocity is starting to get up

there,” Saunders said. ”I’m not a big guy that looks at results

in spring training. I look at where my body is, how my arm feels

and working on pitches. The results will come.”

Saunders, who projects as a middle-rotation starter this season,

said he noticed the blister during his warmup before Thursday’s


Mariners setup man Oliver Perez pitched in first game since

returning from Team Mexico and the World Baseball Classic. Perez

retired the Reds in order in the ninth inning.

NOTES: Votto will make a guest appearance on ”The Cleveland

Show,” an animated series on Fox, on Sunday night. … No. 1

starter Johnny Cueto is scheduled to make his fourth spring

training start Friday for the Reds against Colorado. On a split

squad Saturday, RHP Mike Leake starts against Milwaukee and LHP

Aroldis Chapman gets the call against San Francisco. RHP Mat Latos

is the scheduled starter against Cleveland on Sunday. . The

Mariners face the Netherlands team from the World Baseball Classic

on Friday night and will send Jon Garland to the mound. Jeremy

Bonderman starts the afternoon game against the Los Angeles Angels.

… The Mariners optioned pitchers Danny Hultzen and Hector Noesi

to Triple-A Tacoma, and re-assigned LHP James Paxton and RHPs

Jhonny Nunez and Taijuan Walker to minor-league camp following

Thursday’s game. Paxton and Walker, with Hultzen three of the

Mariners top pitching prospects, appeared in a ”B” game Thursday

morning and didn’t turn in strong performances.