Mariners 6, Diamondbacks 2 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale, Arizona
Yusei Kikuchi continued to build up arm strength while showing off his revamped mechanics and the results that come with them. The lefty tossed 2 1/3 innings, allowing one run on one hit with two walks and three strikeouts. Kikuchi’s fastball sat around 94-95 mph for the second consecutive start, but his goal was to work on his slider in the outing. His plan was to refine the command with his best out pitch, while also focusing on the velocity.
“I think when it was bad last year, the velocity of the slider wasn’t as good and it was acting more like a curveball and hitters were able to realize that it wasn’t a fastball earlier and sooner,” he said through interpreter Kevin Ando. “I think the slider being around the 90 mph mark is a good speed for me.”
The Mariners put up a reverse cycle in order in the second inning to grab a 2-0 lead. Kyle Lewis started with a solo homer to left off of Alex Young. Jose Marmelejos followed with a triple and scored on Tim Lopes’ double to center. Dee Gordon wrapped up the cycle with a single to right. Lopes has six hits this spring in 11 at-bats, including five doubles.
Shed Long Jr. had a pair of RBI singles for the Mariners.
Player of the game
Starting his first game at shortstop this spring, Gordon had a solid game in the field, at the plate and on the bases. Gordon went 3 for 3 with a run scored and a stolen base.
“Kikuchi’s stuff was really good. It was coming out of his hand. It was really nice to see him go after guys. It’s coming out of his hand. You’ve seen the velocity at 95 and 96 today. Any time you throw that hard, it makes your secondary stuff better.” — Mariners manager Scott Servias.
The Mariners return to Peoria Stadium on Saturday afternoon to face the Kansas City Royals. Left-hander Marco Gonzales will make the start for Seattle. Also scheduled to pitch for the Mariners are right-handers Brandon Brennan, Dan Altavilla, Yoshihisa Hirano and Art Warren along with lefties Nick Margevicius and Taylor Guilbeau. The Royals will start right-hander Stephen Edwards Jr. First pitch is set for 12:10 p.m. PT. The game will be televised on ROOT Sports with a live radio broadcast on ESPN-710 and Mariners.com.