PHOENIX, Ariz. – Trailing 4-3 with two outs and nobody on base in the eighth inning, the Mariners scored three quick runs on a combination of patience and power to claim their second consecutive come-from-behind win by a 6-5 final over the Milwaukee Brewers in front of 1,732 at Maryvale Baseball Park in Cactus League play. Seattle has now won four straight overall.
Eric Thames started the pivotal eighth inning with a two-out walk off of Milwaukee closer John Axford. Thames stole second, then came home on a game-tying double off the bat of left fielder Carlos Peguero. Justin Smoak followed with a two-run homer to give the Mariners a 6-4 lead. The blast to right field was Smoak’s second homer of the spring. He’s batting .556 (5-for-9) with a double, 2 HR and 4 RBI in his first three games.
After falling behind 2-0 in the bottom of the second, the Mariners answered with three runs on back-to-back home runs from Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders in the top of the third. Gutierrez’s ball carried over the hitters backdrop in straightaway centerfield.
The Mariners collected 10 hits, including three homers and two doubles, and now has a combined 50 hits (23 extra base hits) during their current four-game winning streak.
Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma worked a 1-2-3 first inning in his 2013 Cactus League debut. . Iwakuma, 9-5 in 30 appearances and 16 starts with a 3.16 ERA last year, is expected to replace Hector Noesi in Seattle's rotation.
"Last year I was more nervous and hesitant," Iwakuma said through an interpreter. "This year I'm more relaxed and comfortable with one year under my belt. So it was a lot easier for me to adjust to getting back into the game."
Joe Saunders allowed two runs on three hits -- all doubles to right field -- in his first inning of work this spring. He signed to a one-year, $6.5-million deal on February 12,
Oliver Perez (1.0 IP, 1 ER) and Kameron Loe (2.0 IP, 1 ER) each allowed a run, as well. Carson Smith (1-0) picked up the win with a shutout inning, and Danny Farquhar notched his first save with an impressive 1-2-3 ninth that featured two strikeouts.