Baxter homers, M’s fall to Brewers 5-2

MARYVALE, Ariz. — Except for two highlight moments Friday from left fielder Mike Baxter, the Seattle Mariners pretty much snoozed their way through a 5-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park.

The Mariners fell into a 5-0 hole before avoiding a shutout when Baxter hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning against Jim Miller, a one-day promotion from minor-league camp.

“He’s really swinging the bat well,” manager Scott Servais said. “It’s early. It’s BP (batting practice) and what-not, but I like the bat a lot. He’s a gamer. He’s played a long time. And he’s got power.”

Baxter’s homer came one inning after he made a diving catch in the left-center gap by ranging to his left.

Other than that, it was fairly forgettable after the Mariners opened their spring with two victories over San Diego.

Taijuan Walker worked a brisk first inning before finding trouble in the second, when the Brewers loaded the bases with one out on a walk and two singles. Garin Cecchini’s sacrifice fly produced a run.

“I just didn’t have command of the fastball,” Walker said. “I left a lot of pitches up, and I was getting behind. But I got out of a pretty big jam.

“I guess that’s what you want to do: bases loaded with one out, you want to try to limit the runs as much as possible. Obviously, I don’t want to be in a jam, but it’s going to happen.

“And if that happens, I’d rather just give up one.”

Milwaukee extended its lead to 3-0 by scoring two runs in the sixth inning against right-hander Adrian Sampson, who figures to open the season in the Triple-A Tacoma rotation.

Sampson allowed four straight one-out singles.

The margin climbed to 5-0 on Andy Wilkins’ two-run homer in the seventh inning against Mayckol Guaipe.

Play of the game

Shortstop Luis Sardinas made a slick turn for a double play despite a takeout slide by Jonathan Villar in the third inning.

Second baseman Shawn O’Malley fielded Ramon Flores’ sharp grounder and flipped the ball to Sardinas, who made a strong throw to first.

Actually, Sardinas didn’t even need to make the throw.

Villar violated the new rules regarding slides at second base by going beyond the baseline. Umpire Pat Hoberg signaled a double play.

Plus

Seth Smith had singles in his two at-bats before leaving the game prior to the Milwaukee fifth. He is 4-for-4 in his two games. … Right-hander Cody Martin, who is likely ticketed for the Triple-A Tacoma rotation, worked two scoreless inning after replacing starter Taijuan Walker.

Minus

Walker’s leadoff walk in the second inning to Kirk Nieuwenhuis turned into a run. … The Mariners wasted leadoff singles in the second and fifth innings when Chris Iannetta and Mike Zunino hit into double plays. … The Mariners had only two at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Quotable

Manager Scott Servais spent the last four years as the Angels’ assistant general manager for scouting and player development but doesn’t attach any significance to Saturday’s game against his former club.

“It’s spring training,” he said. “We’re going to play them 19 times this year. They’ve got a really good team. Everybody knows that. It will be very competitive with them all year long.”

Short hops

Both players involved in the Nov. 20 trade between the two clubs were in the starting lineup: Luis Sardinas at shortstop for the Mariners, and Ramon Flores in center field for the Brewers. … Milwaukee first baseman Andy Wilkins, who hit a two-run homer in the seventh, was a Mariner for 12 days last December. They acquired him in a Dec. 2 waiver claim from Baltimore but lost him in a Dec. 14 waiver claim to Texas. The Brewers got him in a Dec. 23 waiver claim from the Rangers.

Up next

The Mariners get their first look at American League West-rival Los Angeles at 12:10 p.m. Pacific time Saturday at Peoria Stadium.

Lefty Wade Miley, acquired in December from Boston, will start and pitch the first two innings. Joel Peralta, Vidal Nuno, Jonathan Aro, Tony Zych and Blake Parker are also scheduled to pitch.

The Angels list lefty Andrew Heaney as their starter. Also scheduled: Huston Street, Joe Smith, Cam Bedrosian, ex-Mariner Rob Rasmussen, Greg Mahle, Nate Smith, Victor Alcantara and A.J. Archer.

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