A near pitching-perfect afternoon in Peoria

CustBatLose.jpgJack Cust loses the grip on his bat before it sailed way back in the stands during the second inning of Tuesday’s game against the Giants. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

If you like pitching and a nice tidy 2 hour, 28 minute ballgame, Tuesday had everything for Mariners fans at Peoria Stadium as Seattle beat San Francisco 1-0.

OK, we won’t talk about the offense on a day the Marines scratched out three hits against a trio of Giants pitchers who weren’t named Lincecum, Cain or Bumgarner. Ryan Vogelsong, a non-roster invitee likely destined for Triple A, pitched 3 2/3 innings of two-hit ball as the Giants’ starter.

This wasn’t exactly the World Champion offensive lineup for the Giants either, but San Francisco did have Buster Posey, Miguel Tejeda and Aubrey Huff in action and still got shut out by seven Mariners hurlers.

Jason Vargas was impressive in his first Cactus League action of the spring, facing just 10 batters over his three innings of work.

You also had to like the perfect sixth by Tom Wilhelmsen with a pair of strikeouts and a 1-2-3 eighth by Manny Delcarmen, who looked better than he had in previous outings.

The only pitcher to struggle for Seattle was 21-year-old lefty Mauricio Robles, who gave up a two-out double to Nate Schierholtz in the seventh and then couldn’t throw strikes. But after walking the bases loaded and falling behind 2-0 on third baseman Ryan Rohlinger, he regrouped and struck Rohlinger out on a full-count fastball.

Offensively this day boiled down to a fourth-inning walk by Justin Smoak, followed by a run-scoring triple high off the batter’s eye in center field by Ryan Langerhans off Vogelsong.

About the only other action on the day was when Jack Cust lost the grip on his bat, sending it arcing about 125 feet in the air into the stands well behind the visiting dugout in Peoria Stadium in the second inning (see photo above).

Ichiro and Chone Figgins didn’t play Tuesday and Milton Bradley took part in a B game in Glendale against the Dodgers in which he hit a home run, as did Dustin Ackley and Alex Liddi. But the Mariners have now gone seven straight games without a long ball in Cactus League play.

Is that a concern? For a team that couldn’t score runs last year, yeah, it’s a troublesome trend even this early in spring. But on Tuesday, a 1-0 win improved the Mariners to 5-4-1 in Cactus League action and they’ll take that for now.

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