BY John Hickey 06:13PM 03/08/2011

Pitching sharp, offense dull, except in ‘B’ game

Three homers in ‘B’ game against Dodgers serve as minor counterbalance to just three hits in 1-0 Seattle win over San Francisco Tuesday.

Jason Vargas threw three shutout innings against the Giants Tuesday in his first Cactus Lague start. / Getty Images

PEORIA, AZ – The Mariners showed last year that they could win the occasional 1-0 game.

That’s hard enough to do in the regular season in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field; Seattle score one run 28 times in 2010 and won just three 1-0 games.

Tuesday a group of seven Seattle pitchers led by starter Jason Vargas managed to do it in hitter-friendly Peoria Stadium.

The end result was a 1-0 Seattle win over San Francisco as the Mariners managed to put one in the win column despite just three hits. One of the three hits was a triple off the batter’s eye in center field by reserve outfielder Ryan Langerhans.

Vargas opened the game with three quiet innings in which he faced just one batter over the minimum. From there six relievers managed to keep the Giants at bay.

“Things came out pretty well today,’’ Vargas said of facing a Giants’ lineup that wasn’t great but did include Buster Posey, Miguel Tejada and Aubrey Huff. “I found the strike zone and they were swinging. There were some balls put in play early.’’

In his first outing in a simulated game last Friday, Vargas threw a lot of curves. On Tuesday, he didn’t throw any.

“I didn’t throw one curve today,’’ Vargas said. “It was fastball, changeup and cutter. It was a productive day. I was ahead in the count and my pitches weren’t all over the place.’’

Vargas allowed just two hits, walked one and had a strikeout. In his wake came Jamey Wright, Cesar Jimenez, Tom Wilhelmsen, Mauricio Robles, Manny Delcarmen and Fabio Castro.

“Everybody threw well today,’’ manager Eric Wedge said. “That was good to see. For the most part, they did a good job with the fastball in the zone and the secondary stuff was good. You like to see that, especially early in camp.

“(Vargas) was very good. Obviously it was his first time out there (not counting a simulated game), but three innings under control, it’s what we’ve been seeking all spring, and he just took it out there to the game.’’

Catcher Adam Moore gave Vargas a thumbs-up for his performance.

“Jason needed to come out and keep the ball down,’’ Moore said. “And that’s just what he did.’’

Seattle’s roster didn’t include Ichiro Suzuki, Chone Figgins or Milton Bradley and it wound up with just the Langerhans RBI triple, a single by shortstop Josh Wilson and a single by Moore.

Langerhans’ hit, which came in the fourth inning off the Giants’ starter, Randy Vogelsong, was big for a player trying to make the roster as the fourth or fifth outfielder.

“I’m getting in a groove as we’re moving toward the halfway point (of spring training),’’ Langerhans said. “I’m just trying to be consistent; it’s an ongoing battle.’’

Still, the Seattle offense continues to be a concern. Seattle has scored exactly one run four times in the last six games. That’s not a healthy sign; indeed it’s a sign that the offense could be much like last year’s when the club set an organizational record for run-scoring futility by finishing last in the big leagues with just 513 runs.

Wedge continues to look at the Cactus League schedule with the season opener in Oakland still more than three weeks away.

“Again, it’s early in camp and it’s tough to judge,’’ Wedge said. “You take it more on an individual case-by-case basis here early in camp when it comes to the pitching and the hitting. Obviously it’s more situational with different areas of your club, different parts of your game.

“We’ll take it on a case-by-case basis, a lot of guys that are working on certain things, some guys are struggling on certain things, some guys are looking to find it, so that’s why we have spring training.’’

The run production is disappointing, but the offensive news wasn’t all bad Tuesday. Seattle had a “B’’ game with the Dodgers in Glendale, and there, at least, Seattle showed some punch, hitting three homers in a 7-1 win over Los Angeles.

Bradley and Alex Liddi hit solo homers in the fourth and fifth, both coming off starter Hiroki Kuroda. Liddi’s knocked Kuroda out of the game.

An inning later, Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley whacked a three-run homer off Joe Newby of the Dodgers to break open the game, which was halted after the sixth.

Ackley, Bradley and Liddi each had two hits for Seattle.

NOTES: In the “B’’ game against the Dodgers, Bradley, nominally a left fielder, played center. … The starter in the game against Los Angeles was lefty Luke French, who struggled a bit. In his two innings he was knocked around for five hits, but kept the damage to a minimum, allowing just one run. Yoervis Medina, Chris Seddon, Chris Smith and Yusmeiro Petit each threw one scoreless inning to close out the game.

Twitter: @JHickey3

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