Wednesday’s Game 8 recap: Indians 8, Mariners 5

Seattle Mariners v San Diego PadresPlayer of the Game: Young left-hander James Paxton continued his strong spring with three scoreless innings as he’s looking more and more like a lock for the opening rotation. Paxton allowed just two hits with no walks and a strikeout, continuing the impressive run he began last September when he was outstanding in four starts as a late-season callup.

Stat of the Game: Three errors and two unearned runs only told part of the story as the Mariners got sloppy in the late going and had trouble in the outfield on a sunny afternoon in Peoria.

Storyline: The Mariners put up four runs off four hits in the first off Triple-A pitcher Travis Banwart … then didn’t manage another hit all afternoon. Paxton pitched well and Abraham Almonte hit a leadoff home run that was quickly followed by a Kyle Seager double, a Robinson Cano single and eventually a two-run single by Nick Franklin that made it 4-0. But once the first inning flurry subsided, the bats shut down and the gloves didn’t help much either.

Worth noting: Lucas Luetge gave up four runs (three earned) on three hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings to let Cleveland back in the game in the seventh. Luetge normally is a situational lefty and he had a 1-2-3 sixth, but got into trouble when he was brought back out for a second frame and tired as he was stretched out to 34 pitches. Danny Farquhar also got tagged for three runs (two earned) while getting just one out in the ninth, but he wasn’t helped by a dropped fly ball by right fielder Xavier Avery and then a throwing error by catcher Humberto Quintero.

Quote of the Day: “We didn’t execute very well at the end of the game. Those are the things that are going to happen in Spring Training. We’ve talked about it, we’ll address them tomorrow and we’ll work on it.” — McClendon on the late-inning defensive mistakes.

Next: Veteran right-hander Scott  Baker gets his second start of the spring on Thursday as the Mariners travel to Glendale for a 12:05 p.m. PT game with the White Sox. Baker, 32, threw two scoreless innings with one hit in his debut against the Angels on Saturday and is making a strong bid for a rotation spot as a non-roster invitee. Closer Fernando Rodney is slated to make his first spring appearance in relief, with Roenis Elias, Tom Wilhelmsen, Zach Miner and Logan Bawcom also scheduled for an inning. The live radio broadcast of the game is available for free on Gameday Audio on Mariners.com.

Here’s today’s boxscore.

Here’s my feature story today on catcher Mike Zunino and his importance this year on the offensive end as well as behind the plate.

Here’s the list of 13 players cut this morning as the Mariners made their first roster trim of the spring.

And here’s the rest of news from camp in today’s notebook.

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