Monday’s Game 17 recap: D-backs 5, Mariners 4

MillerBradPlayer of the Game: Young infielder Brad Miller (pictured) hit his first Cactus League home run, a solo shot leading off the fifth inning, and finished off a 2-for-4 day with a double and run scored in the ninth. Miller, 23, was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2011 and is batting .241 (7-for-29) this spring in his first big league camp. He played third base on Tuesday and has also shown a solid glove at short and second base.

Stat of the Game: Hector Noesi’s ERA climbed to 17.36 as his struggles continued. The young right-hander walked two and then gave up a two-out home run to Mark Teahen in his one inning of work in the fourth. That number would be even worse if Noesi’s last outing – a three home-run disaster – hadn’t been rained out. Including the rainout (which doesn’t count in Cactus League stats), Noesi has now posted a 20.25 ERA with 15 earned runs, 17 hits, 10 walks and eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings over five appearances.

Storyline: Felix Hernandez threw three innings and gave up just one hit – a home run by Eric Hinske – in his second start of the spring. Hernandez was efficient enough in a 38-pitch outing that he went to the bullpen and threw another 15 pitches to work up his arm strength for his next start. If the Mariners stick to the schedule, he’ll likely throw about 65 pitches Sunday against the Rangers.

Worth noting: Jason Bay, who has never led off in 1,169 career regular-season games, was in the top spot in the order for the Mariners as manager Eric Wedge continued exploring all options. Bay’s rise had mostly to do with the fact Franklin Gutierrez, Casper Wells and other logical candidates had the day off, but Dustin Ackley was in the lineup and Wedge put him second behind Bay. The skipper said he’s not sure where Ackley will wind up this season.

Quote of the Game: ““That was pretty nice. Those guys are unbelievable, huh? Awesome.” — Felix Hernandez on the group of about 40 yellow-shirted fans wearing King’s Court T-shirts who chanted and waved “K” cards from a section down the left-field line in Peoria during his three innings of work.

Next: Hisashi Iwakuma makes his fourth outing of the spring when the Mariners travel to Surprise to face the Royals at 1:05 p.m. Iwakuma has given up just one run and three hits in six innings, including three scoreless frames last Thursday against the Royals. He’s expected to go four innings in this one. Danny Hultzen, who hasn’t pitched in almost two weeks due to a sore hip, is scheduled to make his return and pitch an inning in relief.

Here’s is the link to today’s boxscore.

Here’s my story on outfielder Michael Saunders’ triumphant return to camp after his MVP performance for Canada in the WBC.

And here’s my notebook with the day’s news from camp.

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