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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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March 1, 2009 11:56 AM

Mariners-Rangers game thread, March 1

Posted by Bob Condotta

POST-GAME NOTES, QUOTES --- Okay, so it's incredibly early in the spring, pitchers are mostly throwing fastballs and the wind was blowing a little bit today.

Still, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu thinks there's something to take away from yet another statistically impressive offenisve performance.

The Mariners how have 41 runs in four games and are hitting .344 with 53 hits. They also have seven homers.

"Well, they're aggressive,'' Wakamatsu said. "Guys are coming out hacking and working the counts a little bit. ... The kids are playing hard and that's all we can ask of them right now.''

Chris Shelton and Chris Woodward each hit homers for the Mariners while leadoff hitter Franklin Gutierrez had three hits and is 5-9 for the spring and Matt Tuiasosopo went 2-4 and is 5-10.

The M's had five extra base hits with Callix Crabbe tripling and Woodward and Oswaldo Navarro doubling.

Wakamatsu said he had no real issues with the pitching of Brandon Morrow, who allowed three walks, three hits and two runs in facing nine batters.

"I thought he looked strong but he was rushing,'' Wakamatsu said. "He was a little excited today. Tempo-wise he was a little off-kilter. But he came out of that and was throwin good.''

Wakamatsu also said he thought Mark Lowe and David Aardsma threw the ball well and said of Chris Seddon that he threw it "real well.''

Lowe gave up two hits in an inning, Aarsdma one hit in an inning and Seddon struck out two without any hits or walks in two innings.

The Mariners also turned three double plays.

"Most important for me, they are playing a full nine innings and playing hard,'' Wakamatsu said.

The Mariners play at the White Sox tomorrow in Glendale with Jarrod Washburn slated to get the start and Ryan Rowland-Smith,Tyler Walker, Justin Thomas and Denny Sark also scheduled to pitch.

IT'S A FINAL --- Mariners win this one 13-6 getting 15 hits in another impressive offensive performance.

The Mariners are now 3-0-1 and have scored 41 runs in four games.

I'll have some more notes and quotes in a little while.

ATTENDANCE TODAY --- Is 4,772 in a stadium that seats 10,500. So far, numbers seem a bit down, but it's just a few games into the spring training season and games started a few days earlier than normal. Still, many are watching and wondering how the economy will impact baseball attendance this season.

ICHIRO UPDATE --- Here's a story on Ichiro's day playing for Japan in preparation for the WBC. . As you can read, Ichiro went hitless for the weekend which is surely inciting panic all over the nation. Here, it's still 10-4 Seattle as we go to the eighth.

Some kid from Yakima just sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame'' and did a nice job.

SEVENTH-INNING UPDATE --- Texas scored a run in the bottom of the sixth but the Mariners continue to lead 10-4 in a game in which only prospects are now playing. Mark Lowe pitched an inning and gave up two hits.

MARINERS BLOWING IT OPEN --- Seattle scored five runs in the top of the fifth and has taken a 10-3 lead in a game that is just crawling along. The big blows were a two-run HR by Chris Shelton and a two-run single by Franklin Gutierrez.

HERE ARE SOME OF MORROW'S QUOTES --- Again, Morrow gave up two earned runs on three hits with three walks in pitching to nine batters.

"I maybe had been trying to be a little too easy and my arm wasn't catching up a lot of the time, I was a little too relaxed at times.''

"I've got to work on lowering my effort level during the game so I will be able to go 7-8 innings and I've just been trying to find that rhythm.''

"I felt like I was kind of standing up straight a little bit and a little lackadaisical on some pitches and then try to amp it up. I've got to do the same thing every time.''

"Everything I missed was armside and up, which means you're flying open, so I've got to let that arm catch up.''

MORROW SAYS HE WAS RUSHING THINGS --- Morrow said his wildness was due to rushing his motion, though he said it wasn't due to being amped up in his first outing of the year. Instead, he said he's putting an emphasis this year on trying to be more relaxed so he can last longer in games. He said by trying to stay calmer today he was actually forcing his motion a bit, Sounds weird, maybe, but that's what he seemed to be saying. Anyway, he said he felt fine physically so no problems there.

HAMILTON UPDATE --- Listed as a mild left Achilles strain and is day to day.

MORROW LEAVES GIVING UP TWO RUNS --- Morrow left after one trip through the order allowing two runs on three hits and three walks.

HAMILTON LEAVES WITH ACHILLES TIGHTNESS --- Texas' Hamilton played just one inning today after suffering tightness in his right Achilles.

MORROW GIVES UP ONE RUN, KINDA --- Brandon Morrow's first inning of the year resulted in two hits and one run, though it maybe should come with an asterisk. Bryan LaHair took a rather eventful route to a long and high fly ball off the bat of Josh Hamilton, then fell down after it landed, allowing a run to score and Hamilton to get to third. Morrow also gave up a walk but got out of it otherwise and Seattle has a 4-1 lead.

LAST FOUR SIGN --- The last four unsigned players on Seattle's roster agreed to 2009 contracts today --- pitchers Brandon Morrow, David Aardsma, Cesar Jimenez and OF Franklin Gutierrez.

The four were under club control and if they hadn't agreed to new deals by tomorrow than their contracts would have been automatically renewed. All 40 players on Seattle's 40-man roster now have signed contracts for the 2009 season.

Morrow is just about to take the mound for the first time this season.

He has a 4-0 lead as Seattle used three hits, two walks and a wild pitch to score the four runs.

MARINERS TAKE LEAD --- The two teams are following one of the longest anthems ever with one of the longest half-innings in recent spring training history. Two hits and two walks sandwiched around an infield fly have Seattle ahead 1-0 off Rangers starter Vicente Padilla.

And now it's 2-0 after a Matt Tuiasosopo single into left field continuing a strong start for the Woodinville native. He is now 4-7 this spring.

BALENTIEN EXPLAINED --- I talked with Wladimir Balentien for a while before the game here in Surprise and he told me the same story you may have read elsewhere --- a young relative got hold of his visa, he said, and dropped it in some water damaging some pages. He thought it would still be good, but was told otherwise when he showed up in Venezuela on his way to the US from Curacao. So he had to wait 10 days or so to get a new one.

Here's here in Surprise today and on the bench but isn't expected to play.

GAME ON --- One of the longest National Anthems is history and the first pitch is about to begin.

I detailed the Mariners lineup in the earlier thread.

Texas is pretty much going with its A team today. Here's its lineup:

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, CF
Hank Blalock, DH
Marlon Byrd, RF
David Murphy, LF
Chris Davis, 1B
Adam Melhuse, C
Elvis Andrus, SS

Vicente Padilla, P

That's pretty much what the Texas Opening Day lineup could look like.

I'll try to update as much as I can during the game.

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