BY SPNW Staff 04:35PM 03/18/2013

Morse Hits Mariners’ 44th HR in Win Over A’s

Michael Morse hit Seattle’s 44th home run, helping the Mariners to a 6-5 victory over division-rival Oakland Monday in Phoenix. Morse, who has hit six Cactus League long balls, increased his batting average to .371 with 11 RBIs in 13 games.

Hisashi Iwakuma, a lock to make Seattle’s rotation, allowed a two-run homer to Derek Norris in the fourth inning, but gave up just one other run in his five innings of work. Overall, the 33-year-old right-hander surrendered six hits and walked two with no strikeouts. He also hit a batter. Iwakuma has a 3.60 ERA this spring.

The Mariners tagged A.J. Griffin, likely to start the season as Oakland’s No. 4 starter, for five runs on six hits in 5.1 innings. Griffin allowed just two baserunners — and no runs — through the first four innings, but unraveled in the fifth when he allowed a two-run double to third baseman Brad Miller that tied the game at 2.

Michael Saunders’ RBI single gave the Mariners the lead and Seattle added two runs in the sixth on Morse’s home run and an RBI single by Dustin Ackley.

Justin Smoak has a two-hit day and boosted his average to .390.

RHP rookie Brandon Maurer starts Tuesday in a 7:05 p.m. PT game against the Giants at Peoria Stadium. Maurer, 22, has been impressive, and is contending for one of the final rotation berths despite never pitching above Double-A.

Maurer is scheduled to throw five innings, with closer Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush and Steven Pryor to follow. Veteran lefty Joe Saunders is scheduled to throw in a minor league intrasquad game at the Peoria Complex at 10 a.m.


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