SURPRISE, Ariz. – The Seattle Mariners won their ninth straight Cactus League game, defeating the Texas Rangers 7-6 in front of 6,104 fans at Surprise Stadium Sunday. The nine-game winning streak is the club’s longest ever in a single spring in the Cactus League. Seattle’s previous mark was eight straight, set in 1993.
The Mariners scored six times in the first three innings, plating two runs in each of the first three frames, to build a lead they would never relinquish.
Kendrys Morales (#1) and Jesus Montero (#1) each homered, giving Seattle 22 home runs in 10 games this spring, the most in baseball (Cactus or Grapefruit League). Fifteen different players have now homered for Seattle this spring, and Seattle has collected multi-homer games in each of its last seven contests.
The Mariners jumped to a quick 2-0 lead, as Jason Bay walked and Morales drilled a 2-0 pitch high on the grass berm in center field with one out in the first inning. Seattle added another pair in the second as Montero, Mike Zunino and Brendan Ryan all doubled, and the Mariners expanded the lead to 6-0 on a two-run homer from Montero in the third inning.
Seattle starter Joe Saunders (1-0) picked up the win, tossing 2.0 shutout innings in his first start (second appearance) of the spring. Hector Noesi was touched up for single runs in the third and fourth innings to cut the lead to 6-2, but Josh Kinney escaped a bases loaded no-out situation in the fifth inning without allowing a run. Carson Smith worked a scoreless sixth, while Jonathon Arias allowed a pair of unearned runs in the seventh. Danny Farquhar tossed a scoreless eighth. Bobby LaFromboise allowed two runs in the ninth (one earned) but left the bases loaded to notch his first save.
Seattle added a single run in the sixth on an Eric Thames sacrifice fly to make it 7-2 before the Rangers scored a pair of unearned runs in the seventh to cut the lead to 7-4. The Rangers had a solo homer and an unearned run in the ninth inning to cut the lead to 7-6, but left the bases loaded in the loss.
The Mariners (9-1) return home tomorrow, hosting the Colorado Rockies (5-4) at Peoria Stadium. The game will be televised by ROOT Sports but will not be broadcast in the Seattle area on 710 ESPN Seattle and the Mariners Radio Network. Right-handed pitcher Jon Garland is scheduled to start for the Mariners against Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio.