MESA, Ariz. – Catcher Kelly Shoppach hit a two-run double in the top of the eighth inning to break a 4-4 tie and lift the Seattle Mariners to a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs Thursday afternoon at HoHoKam Stadium.
The win capped the Mariners Arizona portion of the spring training schedule, and tied the all-time spring club record with their 21st victory (21-11). The Mariners also had 21 wins in 1994, their first spring training at the Peoria Sports Complex.
Michael Morse homered in his third consecutive game (solo HR in 2nd inning), moving him into the spring lead with his ninth home run. The opposite field homer also set the Mariners spring record, passing the old mark of eight home runs by Mike Wilson in 2009. Overall, the Mariners have hit 56 home runs, tied for second most by any team in spring training play over the last 20 years (Cubs – 62 in 1999, Royals – 56 in 2009).
Seattle trailed 3-1 in the fifth inning before Kyle Seager tabbed a two-out, two-run double down the left field line to tie the game. The Cubs re-took the lead in the sixth inning on a throwing error by Nate Tenbrink.
Trailing 4-3 in the top of the eighth inning, Tenbrink tied the game with a run-scoring single to right field and Shoppach followed with a two-run double down the left field line to give the Mariners a 6-4 lead.
Left-hander Lucas Luetge (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless seventh inning, and minor leaguer Tyler Burgoon picked up his first save with a scoreless ninth. Starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma did not factor into the decision, allowing 5 hits and 3 runs in 4.0 innings. Iwakuma, who is slated to start the Mariners second game vs. the A’s next Tuesday, did not walk a batter and struck out a spring-high 4 batters.
The Mariners (21-11) travel to Salt Lake City tomorrow and will face Colorado Rockies Saturday at Spring Mobile Ballpark (1:05 pm MT/12:05 pm PT). Right-hander Brandon Maurer (3-1, 0.90) will make his final spring tune-up against Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis (3-1, 2.70). The game will be televised by ROOT Sports (split telecast with Rockies).
The Mariners open the 2013 season Monday, April 1 vs. the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum (7:07pm / ROOT Sports). Felix Hernandez will make his sixth career Opening Day start against A’s left-hander Brett Anderson. The Mariners open the season with a seven-game road trip (at Oakland and Chicago-AL), and return to Safeco Field April 8 to face the Houston Astros (7:07 pm).
LINESCORE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
MARINERS 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 3 0 - 6 10 1
CUBS 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 - 4 7 2
WP: Luetge (1-0) LP: Takahashi (1-2) SV: Burgoon (1)
SEA – Iwakuma, Loe (5), Luetge (7), Capps (8), Burgoon (9) and Montero, Shoppach (6)
CHI – Villanueva, Takahashi (6), Camp (9) and Navarro, Castillo (7)
Home Runs – SEA: Morse (9); CHI: Soriano (5)
Attendance – 11,635 Time – 2:56