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Sports >  Seattle Mariners

Mariners beat Cubs as Felix Hernandez goes 3.2 innings in final spring start and Jean Segura gets three hits

Felix Hernandez will make his 10th consecutive and 11th opening day start overall when the Mariners host the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night. (Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)
Felix Hernandez will make his 10th consecutive and 11th opening day start overall when the Mariners host the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night. (Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

Mariners 7, Cubs 3 at Peoria Stadium

The Mariners used a four-run eighth inning to break the game open and improved to 14-14-2 on the spring in front of a sellout crowd of 12,601.

Seattle’s first run came in the first inning on one of the more spectacular plays of the spring as Dee Gordon scored from second on a Jean Segura single, diving around the tag of Chicago catcher and former Mariner Chris Gimenez after having run through the stop sign of third-base coach Scott Brosius.

Chicago centerfielder Ian Happ’s throw home – on which he tumbled head over heels as he uncorked it – beat Gordon by a good 10 feet or so, but Gordon’s fleet slide allowed him to evade the tag.

“I think he went under the dirt to touch home plate there,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais. “Dee is a very electric player when he’s out there. Wasn’t crazy about him running with his head down because I’m pretty sure our third base coach had the stop sign up. Not great idea to take that kind of chance with nobody out. But we are learning Dee, he is learning us. But he can get going. It was a heck of a slide.”

The Mariners got another run in the inning on a double play by Nelson Cruz.

RBI singles by Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Mitch Haniger keyed the eighth.

Felix Hernandez started and gave up one run – a leadoff homer to Ian Happ – before settling down and going 3.2 scoreless innings the rest of the way and throwing 63 pitches and likely did enough in what was his first start in almost a month to convince the Mariners that he is ready to be the Opening Day starter Thursday against Cleveland.

Ariel Miranda also threw three scoreless innings with four strikeouts in continuing a good spring while Ryan Cook struggled in the ninth, allowing three hits, two walks and two runs before finally getting the final out.

Player of the game

Segura was 3-3 plus a walk and two runs scored in what was his first game after missing a week with a sprained thumb. Segura is hitting .472 for the spring with a .535 on-base percentage. “I think Jean can just not hit for a week and get three hits,” Servais said. “He’s just that talented of a guy.”

Quotable

“Health-wise there are no issues there at all. He felt good. Just the consistency of getting the feel for the secondary pitches was the issue early tonight,” Servais on Hernandez, who hadn’t pitched since Feb. 26 when he was hit by a line drive in the forearm and needed 38 pitches to get through the first two innings before finishing with 63 in 3.2 innings.

On tap

The Mariners host the Padres in their final game of the spring at Peoria. First pitch is 12:10 p.m. with James Paxton starting for the Mariners and Nick Vincent and James Pazos also among those scheduled to throw. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 710 Seattle. There is no TV.

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