Peguero drives in three in loss to Rockies
Rookie Ramirez allows two runs on four hits in three innings
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Carlos Peguero went 4-for-5 and drove in three runs, including a two-run homer, but the Rockies rallied for four runs in the sixth to defeat the Mariners 9-8 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Tuesday afternoon.
Jonathan Herrera's two-run double and Chris Nelson's opportunistic baserunning highlighted a four-run sixth inning after Peguero helped the Mariners to an 8-5 lead.
Nelson scored the go-ahead run from third when he alertly headed home on pitcher Charlie Furbush's pickoff throw to first.
Peguero's two-run homer highlighted a five-run fifth inning as the Mariners overcame an early 5-1 deficit.
"He's had a real nice spring," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He's definitely starting to figure it out. You look at the way he calms himself down and how much more under control his at-bats are. That last at-bat was a great indicatator against a tough left-hander, fighting some pitches off and not getting too big, and going out there and competing and getting a base hit.
The Mariners and Rockies will meet again at Salt River Fields on Wednesday to finish their Cactus League schedules. The Mariners opened the regular season in Tokyo, Japan, last week, splitting two games with the Athletics, and will resume the regular season at Oakland on Friday. The Rockies will open at Houston on Friday night.The Rockies entered the fifth with a 5-1 lead, but the Mariners' Kyle Seager and Michael Saunders doubled, and Alex Liddi singled to chase Rockies starter Juan Nicasio with one out. Nicasio was charged with four runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, and an encouraging comeback from a broken neck he suffered last year ended with a 3.90 spring ERA. Nicasio said he could not control the movement of his fastball. "I'd throw it in the middle and it would go to the side; I couldn't throw strikes," Nicasio said. "My best pitch is the fastball." Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood gave up Peguero's homer, his fifth of the spring, to tie the score at 5-5. Chatwood later gave up a Casper Wells single and a triple to Munenori Kawasaki - a Japanese free agent who earned a spot as a utility player -- that gave the Mariners a 6-5 lead.
Kyle Seager led off the Mariners' sixth with a triple off Chatwood. Miguel Olivo singled home Seager, then Peguero, who had three hits, singled home Olivo for an 8-5 lead.Todd Helton knocked an RBI single in a two-run first inning against Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez, a 21-year-old rookie who is in position to make the club when the Mariners' regular season resumes. Michael Cuddyer's leadoff double and Jason Giambi's run-scoring single highlighted the three-run fourth inning against Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen. The Mariners ran the game with relievers to keep the starting staff fresh.
"It was a little sloppy, but I just focus on the positives and that's the way we've been swinging the bats," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "It's been a very good offensive spring and that's a big step for us. It's moving the right direction. We've got a lot of things going on that are real offensively and that should play for us during the season."
Mariners up next: The Mariners close out their Cactus League season against the Rockies in a Wednesday rematch at 1:05 p.m. PT at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. Hector Noesi gets the start for Seattle, his final tune-up before his Mariners regular-season debut Monday at Texas. The former Yankee has a 3.00 ERA in three spring starts.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.