James Paxton didn't seem to be intimidated by the defending World Series champs. Facing one of the most potent lineups in Major League Baseball, the Mariners left-hander K'd five Cubs Thursday while allowing one run and a hit in three innings of work.
Mariners 8, Cubs 6 at Sloan Park
James Paxton didn’t seem to be intimidated by the defending World Series champs. Facing one of the most potent lineups in Major League Baseball, the Mariners left-hander struck out five Cubs Thursday while allowing one run and a hit in three innings of work.
Save for the fastball first baseman Anthony Rizzo clocked over the right-field wall, Paxton went virtually mistake-free in his second start of the spring.
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“Everything was feeling good,” said Paxton, whose strikeout victims included reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant. “They’re the World Series champs. They bring it. It was good to go out there and face a team that talented and have some success.”
Seattle catcher Mike Zunino showcased his power once again, hitting his third home run in seven games, but for the younger players, Thursday afternoon was defined by a ninth inning that began with the Mariners trailing 5-4, and ended with them winning 8-6.
Outfielder Boog Powell singled in the game-tying run, and first baseman Zach Shank drove in a pair to put the Mariners up by two.
“That’s good for the young guys,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of the comeback.
Player of the game
Hard to argue against Paxton for this one.
He was using all of his pitches. He was using both sides of the plate. And there were times when he made some of the best players in the world foolish.
Paxton said he has been doing mirror drills to help him with his consistency on his delivery, focusing mainly on the location of his front-side glove. Seems to be working.
“I know what I gotta do to lock myself in,” Paxton said.
“To me, James Paxton was the story of the day. He was on top of his game against their A lineup.” — Servais
The Mariners will host the Cubs at Peoria Stadium on Friday. Right-hander Chris Heston will get the start for Seattle. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 PST.