Thursday’s Game 18 recap: Mariners 6, D-backs 3

BeavanPlayer of the Game: Blake Beavan continues making a strong bid for a starting berth as he’s thrown well in a spring where the Mariners are looking for depth in a rotation that will open the season without Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker. Beavan allowed five hits and one run over 4 2/3 innings with no walks and four strikeouts. The 25-year-old threw 79 pitches and lowered his Cactus League ERA to 2.13 in five outings.

Stat of the Game: Robinson Cano went 2-for-4, which lowered his spring batting average 10 points to .609. Cano laced two singles and had two RBIs as he continued his impressive start. Since returning from a four-day layoff following root canal surgery, Cano has gone 8-for-11 with a pair of doubles in four straight games.

Storyline: The Mariners jumped on Arizona’s Archie Bradley, the D-backs top pitching prospect, for five hits and four runs in two innings to take the early lead and then watched as their own pitchers – Beavan and Hector Noesi – held Arizona to one run over the first seven frames before Yoervis Medina and Zach Miner each gave up a run in the final two innings.

Worth noting: Logan Morrison hit his first home run of the spring and went 2-for-4 while playing first base. Morrison raised his spring average to .303 and is making his case for playing time at designated hitter and backup first baseman. If Corey Hart can play the outfield this season, Morrison appears the most likely candidate for DH time at this point.

Quote of the Day: “For me, the list was a circle. There was nobody at the front of it other than Felix. But he’s done well. I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen.” –McClendon after it was suggested Beavan wasn’t at the top of any media lists of potential starting candidates when camp opened.

Next: Felix Hernandez makes his third Cactus League start Friday at 6:40 p.m. PT as the Mariners travel to Scottsdale to face the Rockies at Salt River Fields. Hernandez gave up four hits and four runs in 2 1/3 innings in his last outing against the Rangers, but said he feels strong as he prepares for his club-record seventh Opening Day start. Erasmo Ramirez is scheduled to pitch in relief and will get an extended outing as he’s competing for a starting rotation berth. Right fielder Corey Hart is expected to return to the lineup after being sidelined since Saturday with a stiff lower back. The game will be carried live on 710 ESPN Seattle.

Here is today’s boxscore.

Here’s a feature story I wrote on the relationship between McClendon and Willie Bloomquist, that goes back to their days together in the Arizona Fall League in 2000.

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

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