Royals 9, Mariners 6 at Peoria Stadium
After failing to get out of the first inning of his first start of the spring, lefty Marco Gonzales looked much sharper in his second outing. After giving up a leadoff double to start the game, Gonzales didn’t allow another hit, working three scoreless innings with no walks and strikeouts.
The Mariners fell apart in an endless fifth inning where the third out proved elusive. Art Warren entered the game with a runner on first and two outs and Seattle leading 3-0. He promptly walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases.
It only got worse for Warren. He hit Salvador Perez to force in a run. It looked like he would be out of the inning when Jorge Soler hit a broken-bat one-hopper to shortstop. But J.P. Crawford misjudged how softly the ball was hit. His flip to second base was too late to get the force out. The spiral continued. Warren gave up a two-run double to Khalil Lee and Crawford booted a ground ball, allowing another two runs to score. Warren’s replacement, Bernie Martinez, got the final out of the inning. But six runs had scored, with only four of them being earned.
Down 6-3, Seattle came back and tied the game, scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth and two runs in the seventh on a two-run single from Joe Odom.
But Taylor Guilbeau gave up two runs in the eighth with two outs and Dan Altavilla allowed a run in the ninth.
Player of the game
Tom Murphy has had quality at-bats and hard contact all spring, but few results. They came on Saturday. Murphy went 2 for 2 with a walk, including a hard double down the left-field line.
“We had a hard time getting that third out in a few innings. But I thought Marco threw the ball really, really well today. He got his curveball going and he didn’t have that last time out. That’s a good sign. I thought (Yoshihisa) Hirano threw the ball very well. That’s the sharpest we’ve seen him. Obviously Art Warren struggled a little command-wise and we didn’t make a couple of plays behind him.” — manager Scott Servais
The Mariners travel to Sloan Park in Mesa to face the Chicago Cubs. Right-hander Kendall Graveman will get the start for Seattle. Also scheduled to pitch for the Mariners are right-handers Cody Anderson, Gerson Bautista, Sam Delaplane, Yohan Rairez, Carl Edwards Jr. and Taylor Williams along with lefty Aaron Fletcher. Former Bellarmine Prep standout Jon Lester will get the start for Chicago. First pitch is set for 12:05 p.m. Pacific. The game will be broadcast on ESPN-710 and mariners.com. It will be televised on MLB TV.