In their first game of 2011, a five-inning intrasquad this afternoon, the Mariners pulled off something that came so hard to them in 2010. They put runners on third base with less than two outs and scored them in what became a 3-1 victory by “Team Ichiro.”
Brendan Ryan hit a sacr
ifice fly and Luis Rodriguez an RBI double in the bottom of second inning, and Adam Moore hit an RBI double in the bottom of the third. Those runs followed Josh Wilson’s sacrifice fly in the top of the second for the “Team Jack Wilson” squad.
The Mariners weren’t bashful about taking an extra base or stealing one in order to set up scoring opportunities. The two squads stole five bases, including two each by Milton Bradley and Michael Saunders. Even catcher Miguel Olivo had a steal, swiping third base in the bottom of the second.
“I like the aggressiveness,” manager Eric Wedge said. “I don’t want them to be afraid to make mistakes. They’ve got that freedom to be aggressive.”
Right-hander Michael Pineda, competing for a spot in the rotation, pitched a scoreless first inning, allowing only a two-out double to Justin Smoak.
Right-hander Blake Beavan gave up a leadoff single to Suzuki in the first inning before retiring the next three, including Milton Bradley and Adam Kennedy on strikeouts. Suzuki hit an ankle-high 0-2 changeup for a single, leaving Beavan so bewildered at giving up a hit on such a good pitch that pitching coach Carl Willis talked with him after the inning.
“Carl told him, ‘There’s only one guy in baseball who can do that and he’s on our team, so you’re OK,’” Wedge said.
Two hard-throwing bullpen hopefuls, Dan Cortes and Josh Lueke, wobbled. Cortes allowed one hit, two walks and a run in the top of the third, which was ended after two outs because he’d reached his pitch limit. Lueke allowed three hits, a walk and two runs in the bottom of the second.