The Mariners (7-1) blasted four home runs in the first four innings, including Mike Morse’s first since his return to Seattle, and defeated the Texas Rangers 8-6 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Cactus League play Friday. The win was the Mariners’ seventh in a row, their longest spring training winning streak since 1998.
In addition to Morse, Carlos Peguera, Michael Saunders and Jason Bay all went deep for the Mariners as Seattle ran its home run total to 18 in eight spring training games, most by any team in the majors. Peguero has three an is hitting .462 in six spring training contests.
The Mariners rolled to an 8-3 lead over the Rangers, who are 1-6-1 this spring, before Texas scored once in the fifth and twice in the eighth.
Peguero made a sliding catch on a bases-loaded line drive by Ian Kinsler in the fourth inning to help RH Brandon Maurer escape a jam, then snagged a deep drive at the left-field wall by Brandon Snyder in the seventh.
Mariners LHP James Paxton, one of the club’s top pitching prospects, allowed three runs on two hits and two walks in his first Cactus League start. Maurer replaced him and turned in two scoreless innings despite allowing two hits and two walks. Maurer, who worked two innings, collected the win.
The game marked the first of three meetings between the two American League West rivals, who square off again Sunday in Surprise.
Hisashi Iwakuma will make his second start when the Mariners host the Dodgers in a 12:05 p.m. PT contest at Peoria Stadium Saturday. The 31-year-old right-hander retired three straight batters on ground balls in his one-inning debut Tuesday against the Brewers.
Iwakuma will be followed by Jeremy Bonderman, making his second appearance as he continues his comeback bid from arm problems that have sidelined him since 2010. Iwakuma and Bonderman are slated for two innings each, followed by Oliver Perez, Kameron Loe, Charlie Furbush, D.J. Mitchell and Chance Ruffin.