The Mariners got their first walk-off win of the spring when Mike Ford’s two-out double on a 2-2 pitch scored Gordon Beckham from first to give Seattle a 5-4 victory over the Rangers Thursday in Peoria, Arizona.
“We haven’t had one of those this spring yet so it was nice to see,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais.
The Mariners trailed 4-3 entering the ninth before Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a solo homer with one out to tie it. A Beau Amaral single kept the rally going (Beckham reached on a force) before Ford won it.
Marco Gonzales, in line to be the fourth starter in the rotation when the regular season opens next week, overcame a shaky beginning to settle down and give up two runs on five hits in five innings.
Facing a Texas lineup filled with non-regulars and minor leaguers, Gonazles allowed two runs on three hits and a walk to the first five batters he faced, eliciting a visit to the mound from pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre.
The talk worked as Gonzales allowed just two hits and struck out five in his final 4 1/3 innings.
“Those rare great situations to be in this time of year — a little adversity and then had to make an adjustment,’’ Gonzales said. “I just thought I was being a little too fine at the beginning and just got back to being me and making pitches.’’
The game also marked the first time the Mariners had been able to put both Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz in the lineup in more than a week.
Cano, playing his first game at second in 11 days due to a hamstring injury, went 2-3 leaving after hitting a double into the gap in the sixth.
Cruz, who played for the first time in nine days since straining his quad muscle, went 0-2 with a walk as the designated hitter.
“It was good to see Robbie out there,” Servais said. “Him and Nellie will probably get some more at-bats in the minor league games tomorrow. A few of our guys will who haven’t been in there much recently. So nice to have them out there.”
The Mariners, though, managed only three hits and no runs in 5.1 innings against Texas starter Bartolo Colon, who is the last remaining active player to have played in the Kingdome, having first done so in 1997.
Taylor Motter’s solo homer to right-center keyed a two-run seventh that tied the game at 3, his third of the spring in raising his average to .309.
Texas grabbed a 4-3 lead on a solo shot by catcher Juan Centeno in the top of the ninth on a 2-0 pitch off of Mariner closer Edwin Diaz, who also allowed a walk.
“When you get behind in the count 2-0, that’s what happens,’’ Servais said. “That’s okay. He knows he’s got to stay ahead in the count, he kind of let up on the pitch.’’
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