Mariners 9, Rockies 9 at the Peoria Sports Complex
Yes, it was another run-scoring, hit-filled Cactus League party that ended in a tie in 8 1/2 innings. Colorado didn’t have enough pitching for the Mariners to bat in the bottom of the ninth. The Mariners and Rockies combined for 18 runs, 26 hits and five home runs. And the wind wasn’t even a factor.
The Mariners exploded for five runs in the third inning against Rockies lefty Philip Diehl. Following a leadoff double from Braden Bishop and a walk from J.P. Crawford, Mitch Haniger clubbed a three-run homer to left field. Kyle Seager followed with a solo blast to right field and Ty France made it three in a row with a line-drive solo homer to left-center.
But right-hander Will Vest, the Mariners’ Rule 5 pick this offseason, gave back four of those runs on four hits and a walk in a fifth inning the Mariners couldn’t finish.
Seattle scored three runs in the eighth inning on a run-scoring double from Jose Godoy and RBI singles from Jose Marmolejos and Dillon Thomas. But reliever Paul Sewald couldn’t hold a 9-7 lead, giving up a two-run homer to Casey Golden.
Player of the game
Justus Sheffield pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits with a strikeout. He worked heavily on his changeup, even throwing it on the first pitch and back-to-back to hitters.
And when he was done, he stuck around to watch his younger brother, Jordan, pitch the fourth inning for the Rockies. Jordan Sheffield was a Rule 5 pick from the Dodgers this winter. He allowed one run on one hit with a walk.
“That’s a big pitch for me. The past couple years, I’ve tried to find it consistently. And I feel like now that I found the consistent shape that I want and consistent speed, now it’s just about executing it and throw it early in counts and late in counts. It was good to see some swing and misses with it today.” — Justus Sheffield on his changeup.
The Mariners will travel to Camelback Ranch on Friday to face the Chicago White Sox. Right-hander Chris Flexen will make his first start of the spring for Seattle. Also scheduled to pitch are right-hander Joey Gerber, Domingo Tapia, Erik Swanson, Jaime Schultz, Matt Magill and lefty Roenis Elias. Colorado will start right-hander Jonathan Stiever. First pitch is set for 12:05 p.m. The game will be live streamed by the White Sox and can be watched on whitesox.com and also the team’s YouTube or Facebook page. The live Mariners radio broadcast will be carried by ESPN 710 and mariners.com.