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.