Kelly Shoppach delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the eighth inning and Michael Morse continued a long-ball barrage with his ninth homer as the Mariners (21-12) rallied to defeat the Chicago Cubs 6-4 Thursday at HoHoKam Park in Mesa. Morse established a Cactus League franchise mark when he connected off Carlos Villanueva in the second inning.
Morse’s solo shot snapped a tie with Mike Wilson (2009) and gave the Mariners 56 homers for the spring, tied for second most with the 2006 Kansas City Royals by a Cactus League club in the past 20 years. The 1999 Chicago Cubs had 62.
With 21 victories, the Mariners tied their all-time spring training total. They also had 21 wins in 1994, the first spring in the Peoria Sports Complex.
After Morse’s blast put the Mariners on top, Arismendy Alcantara started off a three-run third inning for the Cubs with a triple, scoring on a single by Zeke DeVoss, who scored on Alfonso Soriano’s homer. Morse is hitting .370.
The Mariners rallied for a pair of unearned runs in the fifth inning, both tallies scoring on a Kyle Seager double down the left-field line.
Neither starter factored in the decision. Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle’s No. 2 starter who will face the Oakland Athletics Tuesday, went four innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits while striking out four. He departed the game slightly earlier than expected as a precaution to protect a blister-like condition caused by dry skin on his pitching hand.
Villanueva allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits in five innings, facing one batter in the sixth before his outing ended.
Left-hander Lucas Luetge (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless seventh inning, and minor leaguer Tyler Burgoon picked up his first save with a scoreless ninth.
The Mariners lashed 10 hits, including three by Robert Andino.
The Mariners have a travel day Friday, flying to Salt Lake City, where they will face the Colorado Rockies Saturday at 12:05 p.m. PT in an exhibition contest to close out their spring schedule.
The game will be televised live on ROOT Sports and MLB.TV. Brandon Maurer will make the start in his final tuneup before his major league debut Thursday in Oakland.