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Mariners Hit Some Dingers off of a Very Good Pitcher

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Today is an example of a game that would be infinitely more fun if it counted.

MLB: Spring Training-Seattle Mariners at Chicago Cubs Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The nightcap of the Mariners’ split-squad double header featured a matchup with the Dodgers. Batting second for LA was former Mariner Franklin Gutierrez, who recently received this bit of good news:

On the bump for the Dodgers was Clayton Kershaw, who did some Clayton Kershaw things early on. Aside from a Mitch Haniger single, Kershaw was untouchable in the first inning as he struck out the side. As if that wasn’t enough, he picked up his fourth strikeout to start the second inning. That’s right… The first four outs Kershaw recorded were punchouts. It wasn’t long before Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith were discussing Kershaw’s dominant breaking ball.

Ariel Miranda did not want to be outdone though, and struck out the side in the second. Both starters were dominant early on, but both ran into trouble not much later.

The Dodgers got on the board first in the third inning. The frame began with walks to the first two hitters, one of which was Clayton Kershaw. A Yasiel Puig single then loaded the bases. A two-run single from Guti put LA up 2-0.

The Mariners answered the following inning. Clayton Kershaw walked the leadoff batter, Danny Valencia, in the top of the fourth. Tyler O’Neill made the three-time Cy Young winner pay with a moonshot to left field to tie the game. Leonys Martin must have noticed how much fun his teammate had hitting dingers off one of baseball’s best pitchers, and decided he wanted in on it. He led off the fifth with a homer to right. Two batters later, Danny Valencia launched a round-tripper of his own, putting the Mariners up 4-2. Here’s a video of all three homers:

Apparently if this were a regular season game, this would have been just the third time in Kershaw’s career that he’s allowed three home runs. Well, this is not a regular season game. It’s still spring training. Sigh.

Max Povse took over in the fourth and had another stellar performance. Four innings of work yielded three strikeouts, while Povse scattered just three hits. The lanky prospect has been very fun to watch this spring.

The Mariners added an insurance run in the seventh, when James Ramsey scored on a fielding error off the bat of Shawn O’Malley. Dean Kiekhefer and Ryan Weber took over from there, throwing scoreless eighth and ninth innings with a combined two strikeouts and putting a bow on Seattle’s 5-2 victory.

Notes from the win:

  • Tim Kurkjian was in the booth with Rizzs and Goldsmith, and he asserted that he believes Edgar Martinez belongs in the Hall of Fame. He’s right.
  • Daily Haniger shoutout: He robbed Guti of extra bases in the first inning, which sparked a conversation between Rizzs and Goldsmith about the benefit of his speed in the outfield.
  • Tyler Smith continued to impress, notching two hits in four at bats.

The Mariners won both of their games today. Tomorrow, however, they only play one. First pitch is at 1:10 PST.