Mariners 5, White Sox 5 at Camelback Ranch
The Mariners (13-14-2) were forced to settle for their second tie of the spring when the White Sox rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to make the score 5-5, with neither team then scoring in the ninth, and the game then ending there.
Seattle rallied from a 2-1 deficit to take a 5-2 lead in the top of the eighth on a two-run double by Danny Muno and a two-run homer by Kirk Nieuwenhuis, his second in two days and third in the last four games.
Seattle’s other run came on a solo shot in the sixth by Daniel Vogelbach, which was his team-high sixth of the spring and enhanced his chances of making the team as a backup first baseman to Ryon Healy. Vogelbach is hitting .388 and has an .878 slugging percentage – he entered the day at .830, best among all Major Leaguers this spring.
“We are looking at him no doubt,” said Mariner manager Scott Servais. “We talk about his personality and his demeanor and where his confidence level is for him, love to see that in a young player. And he has certainly put his name in the discussion here as we get down to the final cuts and making our roster.”
Casey Lawrence, bidding for a job as the long man in the bullpen, started and gave up two runs on five hits in three innings and Edwin Diaz struck out the only two batters he faced in pitching for the second straight day, something the Mariners wanted him to do with the regular season looming.
The White Sox got their three in the eighth off Spokane native and former Gonzaga University pitcher Wyatt Mills, who gave up a three-run homer to pinch-hitter Craig Dedelow.
Player of the game
Neiuwenhuis also had a walk in four plate appearances along with his two-run homer after going 2-for-2 with a homer that tied the game in the ninth inning in Thursday’s 5-4 win over Texas.
“He really has a lot of power the other way and today was a good day to hit here when the ball is going out to left field,” Servais said of the left-handed hitting Neuiwenhuis, who appears ticketed for Tacoma to start the season.
“The ball was up a little bit early in the game but he threw the ball okay. He’s actually had a really good spring. This wasn’t his sharpest outing but he’s had a really good spring and he’s in contention for that final spot in the bullpen for us,” – Servais on Casey Lawrence.
The Mariners host the Cubs in Peoria Saturday at 6:40 p.m. in a game that looms critical for the chances of Felix Hernandez to get the starting nod on Opening Day, which is Thursday. The start will be just the second for Hernandez this spring after he took a hard shot on a hit to his pitching arm in his first start. The Mariners will want to see Hernandez do enough to feel confident he can go at least five innings against the Indians. The Mariners also hope to get Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki all in the lineup after each stayed behind in Peoria on Friday to get at-bats in a minor league game. The game will be broadcast live on 710 ESPN Seattle and telecast live on ROOT Sports.
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