Thursday’s Game 19 recap: Mariners 8, Reds 7

 MorseAPPlayer of the Game: Michael Morse (pictured) continued his spring assault with a 3-for-3 day with two homers, a double and five RBIs. The big man is making his mark and now shares the Cactus League home run lead with the White Sox’s Paul Konerko with five.

Stat of the Game: Hate to keep leaning on the long ball, but hey, the Mariners keep hitting ‘em. WIth Morse cranking two and Mike Zunino winning the game with his solo shot in the eighth, Seattle increased its Major League-leading HR total to 36 in 19 games.

Storyline: While veteran lefty Joe Saunders got hit around pretty good, giving up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings, young Brandon Maurer shone brightly again with four shutout innings of relief. Maurer is competing for a starting job and doing everything possible as a 22-year-old who has never pitched above Double-A. He now owns a 0.90 spring ERA with one run in 10 innings.

Worth noting: After the game, the Mariners sent top young pitching prospects Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton down to the Minor League camp, along with Hector Noesi and Jhonny Nunez. Not sent down yet? Maurer.

Quote of the Game: “It’s a combination of things. One, how he handles himself as a young pitcher. Two, just the way his stuff plays against big-league hitters. And then you just look at how he continues to climb in regard to how we build him up and how he handles different situations and works through those situations. So far we’ve seen all good things.” — Manager Eric Wedge on what they need to see from Maurer.

Next: The Mariners have a pair of games Friday, traveling to Tempe to face the Angels in a 1:10 p.m. Cactus League game and then hosting The Netherlands in a WBC exhibition game at 7:05 p.m. in Peoria. Jeremy Bonderman starts against the Angels and Jon Garland goes against The Netherlands, both expected to throw four innings.

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

Here’s my notebook on the news from camp today, including the roster move to send Hultzen, Walker and Paxton down.

And here’s a story on Mariners Minor League outfielder Kalian Sams, a member of The Netherlands team who says he’s playing these WBC games for Greg Halman.

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