Catcher Mike Zunino cracked a pair of home runs, but the Mariners allowed five runs in the ninth Saturday and lost to the San Francisco Giants 9-8 in Peoria, AZ. The Mariners have dropped four games in a row and are 10-14-2 in Cactus League play.
Seattle led 8-4 entering the ninth before the Giants raked reliever Erasmo Ramirez for five runs. Shortstop Kelby Tomlinson hit a game-tying, two-run triple and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Mark Lowe.
Zunino hit solo home runs to lead off the second and sixth innings, giving him a team-leading six.
Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma allowed five hits and four runs in five innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked a pair in his third start.
The Mariners play Sunday at 1:05 p.m. against the San Diego Padres at Peoria Stadium. The Mariners will be the road team vs. their complex partners. LHP J.A. Happ (1-2, 7.27) is scheduled to start vs. RHP Andrew Cashner.
McClendon makes it official
Manager Lloyd McClendon reiterated Saturday what everyone already knew: Felix Hernandez will be Seattle’s Opening Day starter April 6 against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field. Early in camp, McClendon said Hernandez’s chances of starting on Opening Day were 99.999 percent.
“Now it’s up to 100 percent,” McClendon said.
From Friday night
Starter James Paxton had a poor night Friday, giving up five runs (two earned), four hits and three walks in 3.1 innings in a 5-1 loss to Kansas City in Surprise. The Mariners managed one hit, an RBI single by 2B by Tyler Smith, whose error led to three unearned runs in the fourth.
“My timing was off — I was standing up too much and I wasn’t following through and spinning toward third base,” said Paxton, who threw 68 pitches, 36 for strikes, and gave up a homer to Eric Hosmer. “It’s something I have to go into the bullpen to fix. It shouldn’t be anything too hard to make a little adjustment.”