Tuesday’s Game 5 recap: Mariners 6, Brewers 5
Player of the Game: Justin Smoak continued his impressive start to the spring with a 2-for-4 day capped by a go-ahead two-run bomb in the eighth inning of Brewers closer John Axford. Smoak also singled and laced a hard opposite-field line drive that was caught by diving left fielder Ryan Braun.
Stat of the Game: Three home runs — by Smoak, Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders — give the Mariners 10 long balls in five games this spring. They’ve outhomered their opponents 10-4 so far, which is a welcome sign for a club trying to improve its offense this year.
Storyline: The Mariners won their fourth straight and this time got it done against some pretty good pitching. They put up three runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings against Brewers’ No. 1 starter Yovani Gallardo, who is gearing up for WBC play. And they won the game with three runs in the eighth off Axford, the Brewers’ closer, not only with Smoak’s bomb, but a nice opposite-field double by Carlos Peguero that tied the game up before Smoak settled the issue.
Worth noting: Joe Saunders gave up two runs on three doubles in the second in his first Mariners’ appearance, but the Brewers seemed to be taking advantage of Michael Morse in right field with several of those hits. Morse couldn’t quite reach two bloop doubles that fell in and then the third came when Juan Segura took an extra base on what appeared to be a single in the left-center gap. But Morse doesn’t figure to play right field very often. Manager Eric Wedge had Michael Saunders in left and Morse in right in this one and said he’d continue to bounce all his corner outfielders back and forth for now just to see different looks.
Quote of the Game: “Good, let’s get those out of the way now.” — Smoak after Braun robbed him of another base hit with a nice diving catch of a hard-hit line drive in the third.
Quote II of the Game: “You don’t see many.” — Braun, when asked how often balls get hit over the center-field batter’s eye in Maryvale, even in batting practice. Which is where Franklin Gutierrez smoked his third-inning home run.
Next: It’ll be a fun day to see the young guns Wednesday when Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker figure to pitch two innings apiece against the Indians in Goodyear. Hultzen wil start and Walker will follow in the 1:05 p.m. MT (12:05 p.m. PT) contest.
Here’s the link to today’s box score.
Here’s today’s feature story on right-handed prospect Brandon Maurer, who is opening a lot of eyes early in camp.
And here’s my notebook with all the news from camp today.