The Mariners scored five runs and Marco Gonzales to pitch one inning, but the game ended after the top of the second because of rain.
MESA, Ariz. — The stats won’t count since the game was unofficial and probably shouldn’t have been started in the first place, but the Mariners will always have the memories of an impressive offensive outburst their first 1 1/2 innings of Cactus League baseball.
Rain was predicted in the Phoenix valley for all of Thursday, but the Oakland A’s, who were hosting Seattle in the lid lifter game of the spring training season, wanted to try and get in some baseball. With a limited number of home games in a shortened spring training due to the trip to Japan, there were financial ramifications for rainouts that will never be played again.
So the two teams started a game that was certain to never finish at Hohokam Stadium. It was one of the relatively dry places in the area in the early afternoon. But that changed at about 1:40 p.m. when Mariners starting pitcher Marco Gonzales jogged to the mound to warm up for the bottom of the second inning. A drizzle that had started about 15 minutes earlier turned into real rain drops and then matured into a heavy rain as Gonzales finished his final warm-up tosses. Umpires pulled both teams off the field at 1:45 p.m.
A brief meeting — all of about 90 seconds — featuring Mariners manager Scott Servais, A’s manager Bob Melvin and home plate umpire Ted Barrett resulted in the decision to call the game. There was no reason to wait out a predicted forecast that had come to fruition and had no letup in sight.
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Was it a complete waste of time to get those 1 1/2 innings while having a commute back and forth across the valley, featuring Arizona drivers dealing with rain in a similar fashion to how Seattle drivers handle snow?
Manager Scott Servais found at least one or two positives.
“We had a pretty good idea it was going to rain,” Servais said with no hint of sarcasm. “But I’m really glad we got Marco out there. That was the goal for today. We were trying to get two innings out of him, but the rain didn’t quite hold off. We were lucky to get that in. I can’t believe we actually played with the way it’s raining everywhere else in the valley.”
Gonzales worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the first, including a strikeout looking of Stephen Piscotty and clean grab of a slow grounder back to the mound. He threw a total of 13 pitches.
“I felt really good,” Gonzales said. “My main goal was to throw strikes and attack guys and get ahead in the count. I felt like I did a decent job of that. I was ready to keep working in that second inning. Unfortunately Mother Nature had different plans.”
The Mariners offense was also a bright spot in their two innings worth of at-bats.
Seattle scored two runs in the first inning off A’s starter and one-time Seattle prospect Paul Blackburn. Shed Long led off the game with a double to right field, advanced to third on Tim Beckham’s single to right and scored on Domingo Santana’s deep sacrifice fly. Omar Narvaez followed with a single to right to score Beckham to make it 2-0.
The Mariners tacked on three runs in the top of the second off veteran lefty reliever Jerry Blevins. Daniel Vogelbach led off with a walk and moved to third on Tito Polo’s double to left-center. Dylan Moore plated both runners with a hand ground ball just inside the third base bag that went for a double. In his second at-bat of the game, the lefty-hitting long smashed a deep fly to right-center that bounced off the warning track and over the wall for an RBI double and a 5-0 lead.
“A lot of good at-bats today in the first day out there,” Servais said. “Guys made some good decisions and swinging at strikes, moving the ball around and hitting the ball to the opposite field. It was a good start.”
Seattle is slated to host the A’s on Friday afternoon at Peoria Stadium. Similar weather is being predicted for the game. It’s uncertain if the Mariners will return the favor and have Oakland travel across the valley for perhaps two innings of baseball.