The Mariners wrapped up their Cactus League schedule with an 8-5 win over the Rockies. Nathan Karns pitched six innings, gave up three runs and struck out eight batters.
Mariners 8, Rockies 5 at Salt River Fields
Nathan Karns’ best start of the spring came in his final outing. Slated for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation, Karns pitched six innings, allowing three runs on three hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.
Obviously, Karns hopes to be even better than that during the regular season, but he was able to find some consistency in his delivery that had been missing in earlier starts.
“I was trying to do too much at the beginning of spring,” he said. “But I’ve kind of found my rhythm and am settling into my own again. It was definitely nice to get my work and feel good in my last start. I feel good about where I’m at.”
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Since he won’t make his first start of the 2016 regular season until Saturday, April 9 at Safeco Field against the A’s, the Mariners decided to have Karns work for an extended outing. The six innings was a spring high.
“I knew I was going to have a little more to work with,” he said. “I think I have seven days before I’m scheduled to pitch again. So they wanted me to get out there and stretch me back out. I haven’t had that much opportunity because of the way I pitched in the past. Today was just to see where I went and let it go from there.”
After giving up two-runs, including a two-out RBI double in the second inning, Karns retired 12 hitters in a row, including striking out Trevor Story, Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado and Gerardo Parra in a row.
“I kind of lost my feel for my secondary stuff in the second inning and went fastball heavy,” Karns said of the runs allowed. “I kind of pitched out of my routine, but we got back out there and both (Chris) Iannetta and (Steve) Clevenger got me into good sequences. It was nice to come back and compete with all three pitches again.”
Manager Scott Servais was pleased with Karns effort after the second inning.
“I thought Karns was really sharp,” Servais said. “He got his curveball going in the third inning and beyond. It was good to see. That’s how he needs to pitch. He has to use all of his pitches. He can’t get just locked in on fastball.”
*** Seattle finished the Cactus League season with a 16-14-3 record.
*** With a RBI double in the game, Robinson Cano hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, going 15 for 34, including two doubles, a triple, five homers, 12 RBI and four walks.
Player of the game
Dae-Ho Lee hadn’t hit many balls hard since his only spring home run on March 7. The few hits Lee did register after the big blast were singles. But he showed a little pop in the role he’s expected to fill on Saturday. Lee came into the game in the fourth inning as a replacement for Adam Lind. In his first at-bat of the game, facing lefty Chris Rusin, Lee hammered a double off the wall in left field to score two runs. He later scored on a wild pitch. In his second at-bat of the game in the seventh inning against righty Justin Miller, Lee pushed a ball into right field to score a run.
“He stayed out yesterday an got a bunch of extra work with Edgar (Martinez),” Servais said. “I think he felt better about that session and he carried it into the game today.”
“It was a nice way to wrap it up down here. We’ve played a lot of games. We made it through. I think we are in a pretty good spot with everybody healthy. We are ready to roll.” — Servais on spring training.
The Mariners will have workout on Sunday at Globe Life Park and then open the 2016 season on Monday against the Texas Rangers. Right-hander Felix Hernandez will get the start for Seattle, while lefty Cole Hamels will go for Texas.